We should be careful about eye health during social isolation
Too much screen time tires the eye during lockdown
People spend much more time on their phones and tablets while under lockdown due to the social isolation guidance as a result of coronavirus. Anadolu Medical Center Ophthalmology Specialist Op. Dr. Yusuf Avni Yilmaz says that this may cause computer vision syndrome or computer eye strain that are normally seen in professional work life: “Eye strain causes headaches, blurred vision, stinging or burning in the eyes due to dry eye, as well as neck and shoulder pain.” Op. Dr. Yusuf Avni Yilmaz also shared some tips to protect eye health as we spend more time in front of our screens at home.
Screens make your eyes tired
Certain eye and vision problems are frequently observed in today’s world due to extended use of computers, tablets and mobile phones. The duration and severity of these problems are directly related to digital screen time. In today’s professional work life, computerless working environments are all but non-existent and computer use has become an integral part of everyday life. Due to Covid-19 we spend more time at home and this increases eye strain.
Degree of visual symptoms are linked to screen time
There are many causes of the computer eye strain syndrome. Chief among them are poor lighting, reduction of blinking during screen time, less tear, inappropriate distances, bad sitting postures, unchecked and uncorrected vision problems and co-existence of some of these factors. Experience of these visual symptoms by individuals is directly linked to time spent looking at digital screens. Uncorrected vision problems such as hypermetropia and astigmatism, insufficient eye focus and age-related nearsightedness may cause emergence of visual symptoms while people spend time on computer and other digital screens.
Stinging in the eyes and headaches may occur after turning off computer
Many of the symptoms experienced by the users are temporary. These symptoms will largely go away once you turn off the computer or stop looking at the screen. However, some people may still experience problems such as blurred vision, headache, stinging or burning in the eyes even after they stop working at the computer. Uncorrected vision problems, computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain may increase the severity of these symptoms. Looking at a computer or digital screen is different than reading a printed document. Letters on a computer or a tablet screen are not as sharply defined. The level of contrast of letters with regards to the background is diminished and glow and reflection on the screen may make vision more difficult.
Vision problems may affect comfort of computer use
Minor vision problems may considerably affect comfort and performance while using computers and other digital screens. Those who wear glasses or contact lenses may not see letters on their computer comfortably from an ergonomic distance with their own glasses. Some people tilt their heads at strange angles as their glasses are not designed for looking at computer screens. Especially those above the age of 40 need intermediate distance foci for computers despite the fact that they use distance and reading glasses. That’s why they lean over to the screen. This posture causes muscle spasms or neck, shoulder and back pain.
Thorough eye examination is important
Computer vision syndrome can be diagnosed with a thorough eye examination. In order to assess to what extent your vision has been affected, vision acuity measurements must be made. Identification of refractive errors might also be useful. An examination of how the eyes focus, move and work together must also not be neglected. By evaluating the information gathered from these tests, your ophthalmologist can establish whether you have computer vision syndrome and inform you about treatment options.
7 tips for computer eye strain relief
Prevention or reduction of computer vision syndrome related problems include screen brightness and contrast adjustment, setting an appropriate distance from the screen, resting by giving short breaks away from the screen, increasing eye blinking and fixing even minor vision problems. Computer vision syndrome is related to how some important factors are handled in terms of prevention or reducing the symptoms. These are lighting conditions, chair comfort, position of the screen and rest breaks. Here are 7 tips to prevent or reduce vision problems related to computer vision syndrome:
The position of the computer screen is essential. Many people find it easer to look at a computer screen while the eyes are looking downwards. Optimally, the computer screen, when measured from the center of the screen, should be 15 to 20 degrees lower than the eye level and 50 to 70 cm away from the eyes.
The computer screen should be illuminated from above. Shades or curtains should be used to reduce glow caused by windows. In order to maize glow, consider using a screen filter, which will reduce reflected light.
Armchairs should be comfortable. The height of the armchair should be adjusted to allow soles horizontally positioned on the floor
In order to prevent eye fatigue, make sure you rest your eyes while you use the screen for extended periods of time. You should give your eyes a rest once you’ve spent a certain amount of time looking at the screen. After an hour on the screen, take a breathe for 10 minutes. During time spent on the screen, look away into the distance for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
In order to reduce the risk of developing a dry eye while spending time on the computer, try to blink frequently. This blinking maneuver induces secretion of tear and keeps the frontal surface of your eyes moist.
Additionally, make sure that you regularly get your eyes checked in case you suffer from an eye condition.