Digital Eye Strain During Lockdown

Giving too much attention to digital screens weakens the brain’s ability to process information, focus, make decisions and control thoughts.

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Dr Uma Mallaiah, Senior Consultant, Ophthalmology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, shares a few tips to maintain good eye health

With the nationwide lockdown being implemented over past two months  and not much to do , the major source of entertainment for people nowadays is binge watching or playing games online. Reports suggest that a majority chunk of the population is engaging in more screen time on TV, laptops, mobiles etc leading to eye pain, watery eyes, headaches, neck pain. Reduced sleep hours add to these problems.

From office work to attending classes online, from streaming movies to playing online games, the social distancing norms have only resulted in a vast majority of Indians suffering from screen-induced stress and health problems. Prolonged exposure to gadgets can contribute to several eye problems, ranging from dryness, irritation and redness, grittiness and watering in the eyes and even unwanted headaches.

The exposure to blue light, radiating from the display screens is the main reason for eye dryness. It is important to reduce the screen time to make sure that the eyes stay healthy and less prone to infections. Spending more time on screen is also leading to poor sleep, chronic pains in neck and back and vision issues.

Tips To Maintain Good Eye Health

  • Keep your computer screen 20 to 24 inches from your eye level.
  • Adjust the display settings of your device to reduce eye strain and fatigue. Brightness of display should be approximately same as the surrounding lighting
  • Blink frequently to moist the surface of your eyes.
  • Avoid working under dim light or in a dark room. Working and reading in low light can cause eye strain.
  • Take a break from looking at a screen every 15-20 minutes and close your eyes for a few seconds.
  • Instead of picking up your phone as and when you feel like it, set specific times to have a scroll through Facebook or read the news.
  • Almonds, walnuts, fish and citrus fruits are some foods good for your eyes. A well balanced diet also helps to stay healthy.

Giving too much attention to digital screens weakens the brain’s ability to process information, focus, make decisions and control thoughts. Since the mind and the body of children are still developing, the effects of screen addiction are exacerbated.

Hence, parents should take note of symptoms and behaviours such as:

  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Tearing
  • Tilting of the head or squinting when reading or watching TV
  • Headaches from eye strain
  • Complaining of eye tiredness or double vision
  • Follow the below tips to help your child limit the screen time:
  • Screen time for children younger than two years should strictly be avoided except for video calls.
  • Children between two to five years old should be allowed around screen time of one hour every day.
  • Avoid phone or TV for at least one hour before bedtime.
  • Maintain daily screen-free times during family meals and reading books.

Image: Unsplash

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