The current situation does not allow for us to move out as frequently and as necessarily as we used to prior to the lockdown. It is most likely going to continue being like this for a longer time given the current circumstance. At present, one should delay their visit to the Optometrist or Ophthalmologist unless absolutely needed. The same applies to visiting the hospital too. Staying at home is the best solution to contain the spread of the virus. As such taking care of your eyes and your eyewear is necessary. We most often tend to neglect that which is easily available and not expensive; eyewear has become one of those products over the last few years. A lot of people also take sight for granted, as such eye health is often abused. However, taking proper care of your eyes and eyewear at this time will help you avoid any uncomfortable and unnecessary situations.
Studies show that the normal blink rate is anywhere between 10-15 times per minute. However, this is reduced to half when using digital devices especially when working on the computer. Also, usage of devices tends to cause more incomplete blinks, so the tear film is not spread across the entire cornea. This leads to screen fatigue or what Optometrists call digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome.
How does one recognise computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain? The symptoms are as follows: eye fatigue and discomfort, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, eye twitching and red eyes (generally appears because of dryness and eye fatigue).
5 steps to help you recover from or avoid digital eye strain is as follows:
- Use proper lighting, avoid harsh light or bright light over your work area
- Minimise glare on computer screens by checking where the reflection is coming from in your surroundings and blocking it. Adjust your computer display setting to match the brightness of the light in your surroundings, change the text size and contrast to what you feel is comfortable and adjust the colour temperature to reduce the harmful blue light emitted from your device.
- Maintain proper posture; hands in line with your shoulders while using the keyboard and screen in line with your eyes. This will reduce or remove the pain caused in your shoulders and neck. Take at least one 10-minute break every hour.
- Consciously try to blink more often and if dry eyes persist call your Optometrist to check on easily available lubricants that will assist you with the same. You can even book an online appointment with us and our Optometrist will get in touch with you and guide you as needed.
- Exercise your eyes by following the 20-20-20 rule which implies for every 20 minutes take a break from your device for 20 secs by directing your gaze 20 feet away from you. If you can’t do this then blink 10 times by closing your eyes like you would when you fall asleep. Do this every 20-30 minutes.
- Use eyeglasses with protective coatings and lens designs which will help reduce the strain on the eyes and will also cut out the entry of harmful blue light. Consultant your Optician for these solutions.
If you have broken your Spectacle Lenses and need a Replacement or have run out of Contact lenses and have no Lens Cleaning Solution, then reach out to us and we will sort you out. Stay home, stay safe.
- By Hemanth Manay, CEO & Chief Consultant Optometrist, S.R. Gopal Rao Opticians & Optometrists.