Have you noticed changes in your eyesight since the pandemic began? Do you think your eyes are more tired, irritated, or less healthy?
Most people had to quarantine at home when the Covid pandemic hit in March of 2020. Quarantines and the work-from-home model they caused may be leading to eyesight deterioration.
Keep reading to learn how increased screen time can negatively impact your eyesight.
Can Digital Screens Cause Eye Problems?
If you’re like a majority of the world, you’ve spent a lot more time looking at screens lately. That’s because most people have been working from home since March of last year.
Even work meetings and happy hours, which used to happen in person, are now digital events. The break your eyes got from your screens during in-person events no longer exists.
Did this shift to entirely digital create an increase in eye issues? It likely has.
Excessive screen use, which has become the norm for most people, causes eye strain and reduces blinking. Both can increase your chances of developing conditions like dry eye and myopia.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by gland atrophy in your eyelids. The meibomian glands along the edges of your eyelids produce oil that keeps your eyes hydrated.
When you blink, the meibomian glands secrete that oil onto your eyes. If you don’t blink enough, the glands atrophy, and your eyes dry out.
When this happens, they struggle to produce oil that prevents your tears from evaporating. Without it, tears evaporate and don’t nourish your eyes.
Not blinking means your eyes are not getting the nutrients and hydration they need. And looking at screens for extended periods makes you blink less.
When you look at a phone or computer screen, you tend to blink less. The excessive screen use that the pandemic has caused means you’re likely not blinking enough.
Fortunately, there is an easy fix for this dry eye caused by a lack of blinking. All you have to do is blink more.
Every hour or so, take a break from whatever you’re doing and blink. Fully close your eyes five times, and on the fifth time, hold your eyes tight for a few seconds.
This should stimulate oil production in your meibomian glands that will keep your eyes hydrated. There are also in-office treatments for dry eyes that could be suitable for you!
Has the Pandemic Increased Refractive Errors?
Eye strain due to excessive screen use has not only increased cases of dry eye. It may also be leading to more cases of myopia, also called nearsightedness.
The closer you hold an object to your face, and the longer you look at that object, the more eye strain you cause. Staring at backlit screens all day is likely causing a significant amount of stress on your eyes.
If you’re nearsighted, this increased eye strain may cause your myopia to worsen. Looking at objects near your face for extended periods may also cause myopia to develop.
There is evidence that nearsightedness has worsened in myopic patients during the pandemic, especially in children. The easiest way to prevent myopia from developing or worsening is to exercise your eyes.
Every twenty minutes, take twenty seconds to look at an object twenty feet away or more. Looking at something in the distance will give your eyes the break from up-close vision they need.
Combine this with blinking, and you should be able to reduce the strain the pandemic has put on your eyes. Do you think you’ve sustained eye damage or deterioration due to the pandemic over the last year?
Schedule an eye exam at IQ Laser Vision with locations throughout California and Houston to find out. The only way to know for sure what is happening to your eyes is with an eye exam! After that, we can help you treat dry eye or myopia!