You’re going to start reading this. Then you’re going to say, “Wait a minute! Wasn’t this covered not too long ago? Doesn’t anyone have original ideas anymore?”
Well, you’re not wrong… exactly. We did cover Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome last November. But a lot has changed since then.
We thought that 2020 would be the “Year of the Optometrist” and entered into it with great excitement, gusto and humor. Instead, while not quite the dystopian society of Huxley’s “Brave New World”, we are living in a much different place than we were in November 2019.
New phrases have begun to make themselves comfortable in our day-to-day conversations. Last year, we were not familiar with social distancing and sheltering in place. We went to the beach, the mall. Restaurants. We took airplanes and cruise ships to faraway places. All without any second thoughts about who was there before us and what they may have touched.
We gathered with family and friends with no fear about whether they would make us sick or vice versa.
We went about our days without worrying about hand sanitizer and face coverings.
We didn’t wonder where out next roll of toilet paper would come from…
Now, many of us find ourselves spending more time at home. Whether we are working from home or, sadly, finding ourselves out of work, we are in front of our electronic screens much more often than we did before March 2020.
Kids are going to school remotely.
Adults are working remotely, updating resumes, binge-watching their favorite Netflix series or catching up with their favorite author on their e-reader.
Or playing endless levels of Candy Crush.
All of this is creating more – and more intense – cases of digital eye strain.
In April 2020, Gallup – the poll people – reported that 83% of school kids across the US were learning remotely as schools within the country were closing.
Sixty three percent of adult employees were working from home as of the beginning of May. In March, it was only 31%.
Remember back to November. We talked about how even people who didn’t need vision correction could suffer the effects of digital eye strain. Why? Because it isn’t about being near or far sighted. It’s about staring at electronic screens for hours at a time.
Blurred vision, headache, excessive burning and tearing as well as sore neck and shoulders along with major fatigue can all be attributed to digital eye strain.
Add to that the long-term effects of over-exposure to harmful high energy blue light and ultra-violet radiation and we end up with something else to chalk up to the curse of 2020.
So. What can you do?
Most important – and, oddly, the most difficult – is to remember to blink!
We don’t blink as often when we are absorbed in our electronic devices. This causes our poor eyes to get very thirsty. Thirsty eyes feel tired, gritty and, well, dry. Blinking replenishes the eyes’ tear layer and makes them feel better. Sometimes, a drop or two of a good lubricating solution will give you a little boost, too.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule. Every 20 minutes focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This helps your eyes to relax and not feel so tense. Also, consider giving yourself a fifteen-minute break for every two hours of screen time. And, remember! Screen time includes computer monitors, laptops, cell phones, e–readers and tablets.
Also. We are available for you! Dr Kay and Dr Deweese are seeing patients for annual eye exams, now! And we have the ability to get you a pair of glasses that will ease your eye strain and your exposure to high energy blue light! There’s something for everyone to make your lives easier and more comfortable.
Oh! And don’t forget to turn off all electronic devices about one hour before bed. Really.
There’s a lot happening in our lives this year that we have very little control over. Keeping your eyes happy is well within your ability. And you will feel better overall by taking care of your eyes.
We hope that you are all doing well and want to remind you to give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you in any way that we can!