Are you Feeling more Eye Strain at Home?
Worldwide people have been confined to their homes during the current pandemic and with that screen time for families has skyrocketed.
Parents and kids are attending work and classes online using Zoom or Google Hangouts. Video games have also been in high demand. These types of activities have become a necessary distraction when going outside isn’t an option.
While digital devices can’t permanently damage your eyes, there are still a number of related uncomfortable effects which affect people of all ages. Here are some recommendations from the Canadian and American Ophthalmology Societies to help avoid some of these effects:
Step 1: Keep them Moisturized!
- Studies show we blink half many times when we’re reading a book or staring at a digital device. Blinking is the eye’s way of getting the moisture it needs on its surface. When the eyes dry out they can often feel irritated, itchy or like there’s something in the eye. You may also notice frequent blinking, burning or eye fatigue.
- Use artificial tears 4-6 times per day. We recommend brands like Hylo, BioTrue, Thealoz, I-Drop and Blink. These are available at our online store or over the counter at your local pharmacies.
- You can also use a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
- Try a warm compress. Place a clean towel in warm water and place it on the eyes for 5 minutes. We recommend The Eye Doctor Essential hot compress mask.
Step 2: Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
This is an easy rule to follow. Set an alarm on your phone, computer or alarm clock. After every 20 minutes, look away at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Looking at far distances help your eyes relax. Instead of focusing and converging your eyes while working, give your eyes a break every 20 minutes. Your eyes will thank you and you will experience less eye strain.
Step 3: Adjust Your Screen
- Adjust the brightness on your screen to match the level of ambient light around you. This will keep your pupils from expanding and contracting continually which can cause some discomfort.
- Try a matte screen filter to cut the glare and try to adjust the contrast on your screen to reduce eye strain. You may also find it useful to increase the font on the screen. Bigger letters is easier to read and requires less focusing.
Step 4: Adjust Your Posture
- Poor posture can contribute to muscle tightness and headaches associated with eye strain.
- Encourage your child to hold books and digital media 18-24 inches away.
- For yourself, find better positions to improve your posture such as ergonomic products or guides.
Step 5: Pay Attention to Your Sleep Habits
Screen use close to bedtime can harm sleep quality. Avoid using screens in the evenings if possible. According to research, high energy blue light filtering technology such as filtering apps on your devices and our BluSelect and Kodak Total Blue lenses have helped improve sleep over time by affecting the melatonin in our eyes.
Step 6: Take Breaks & Enjoy Your Time at Home
Get up and moving at least every 60 minutes if possible. Enjoy your time at home. Do another activity such as exercise or a short chore. Take the time to relax and utilize your break well so you’re re-focused and energized to continue your daily work. Make sure breaks are scheduled in so that you have a consistent routine.