It’s been almost a year since life as we knew it went sideways. A year of wearing masks, sheltering in place and being socially distant. A year of working and schooling at home. A year of spending more time in front of computer monitors than some of us ever thought that we would.
There’s only so much that any of us can do to change the course of COVID-19. Hopefully, science can work out the rest. In the meantime, we can change what the modifications in electronic device use is doing to our eyes.
Early on in the pandemic, we mentioned that people were experiencing more eye strain. More fatigue. That hasn’t changed. But digital eye strain – or DES – is more than just an inconvenience. Especially in children who often don’t have the words or knowledge to express what they are feeling.
Like any other COVID-19 issue, we can’t predict the full impact that the virus will have on our eyes in the future. We do know that DES can be prevented or, at the very least, reduced with the use of eyewear designed to help our eyes “relax” while we perform our daily digital assignments.
Sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time causes our eyes to work overtime. It was enough when we were doing our work at the office. But there, we were limited to eight to ten hours a day. The “Work From Home” situation has us in front of electronics longer. There is no time clock to punch. No end of the day bell to ring to let us know it’s time to pull the plug and shut down until tomorrow.
Those who already wear some form of vision correction – whether glasses or contact lenses – are at enough risk. Those who have undiagnosed or uncorrected vision problems have an even greater chance of experiencing DES symptoms and, possibly, long term effects.
If you currently wear correction, don’t feel that you can relax and go about your day-to-day projects! While your current eyewear may be enough for regular activities, the increased screen time may call for correction geared specifically toward computer-related problems.
Just like you need more than one pair of shoes to get you through your assorted tasks or hobbies, more than one pair of glasses – or glasses to wear with your contact lenses – may be a need that you never thought of before.
Wearing the wrong type of glasses, or none at all, can cause neck and shoulder pain from holding yourself in an unnatural posture while viewing a screen. Neck strain can cause headaches just as much as eye strain can.
Dry eye. Stiff neck. Headache. Blurred vision. All preventable with a little help from the correct eyewear and position.
Besides all of this, there is also the high-energy blue light predicament that we have yet to discuss. While harmful blue-violet light is a natural part of the light spectrum and, therefore, naturally occurring in sunlight, concentrated exposure for long hours – such as at the computer, tablet or cell phone – can create more problems faster than normal sun exposure.
Along with its contribution to eye strain, high-energy blue light may cause internal damage to the eye. Most of this damage presents no symptoms until it has advanced. And most of it is irreversible.
The biggest reason for deterioration is that the eye is not designed to block blue light from reaching the delicate and essential area at the back, making the retina susceptible to blue light damage.
All is not lost, however. A good, comprehensive eye exam can not only detect the need for corrective eyewear. It can also be of use in exposing potential sight-threatening retinal problems. And possibly slow down further damage even if existing damage cannot be fixed.
The doctors and staff at Hollywood Eyes are here for you! Dr Kay and Dr Deweese will perform the greatest comprehensive exam using the newest technology to determine what the best course of action will be to protect your delicate eyes from the ravages of digital eye strain and high-energy blue light.
The Hollywood Eyes Optical Team is here to help you, too! Not only with frame choice, but also to help educate you on the best products and technical know-how to keep your eyes safe and how to look amazing while doing it.
COVID-19 has changed all of our lives. Chances are they will not go back to what they were pre-virus. But know that we at Hollywood Eyes are here to do everything that we can to keep your eyes as healthy as possible.
Give us a call. We are doing all visits with us by appointment only. And we are performing careful procedures to protect you when you do visit us. All of us are wearing masks and all surfaces – including eyeglass frames – are being disinfected with anti-bacterial/anti-microbial wipes after each encounter with our patients. Dr Kay has installed ultra-violet sterilization in the AC system. We are limiting the number of people in the office at any given time and we are requiring all who enter to wear masks. And hand sanitizer is always available.
We care about our patients. We want you to feel safe when you see us.