We really put our peepers through their paces these days …
Adhering to the new normal has meant continuing the digital routine that we began 18 months ago, blissfully unaware of how reliant on our screens we would soon be. Going online for work and more – has created the opportunity for us to stay distant, and we are grateful, but increased levels of screen time are taking their toll on a physical level.
If you find that your eyes are uncomfortable, watery, or very dry, or if you experience headaches, difficulty focusing, blurred vision or light sensitivity, you are not alone. According to new research, eye strain and other sight-related issues have increased significantly since the first pandemic lockdown. Eye strain isn’t serious – once you give your eyes a rest, it tends to stop – but tiring out your eyes on a regular basis without a break can seriously affect your sight over time. It has been reported that 42 per cent of people have noticed their sight deteriorate since March 2020. This is an increase on the number of people noticing sight deterioration during the first lockdown, 33 per cent as reported by a Specsavers customer panel in 2020.
Kerril Hickey, Specsavers Ireland optician and chairman, says: “Our eyes are not designed to be fixed on a single object for a long period of time. When we focus on our screens, especially smaller format laptops, tablets or smart devices, eyes become stressed and strained. Eyes may feel uncomfortable, sore, tired and as if they are itching or burning. You may also be experiencing blurred vision and headaches too.”
Tips for Tired Eyes
We can’t drop our digital duties completely – how our jobs and social lives would suffer! So how do we avoid eye strain?
1 Follow the 20:20:20 rule. Look up from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Looking into the distance helps relax the focusing muscles of your eyes, which in turn reduces eye fatigue.
2 Try wearing varifocal lenses. The lens of our eyes is composed of transparent, flexible tissue, and is responsible for focusing on objects that are nearby, or up close. It does this job well, until around the time we reach the age of 40, when it becomes a little less pliable. As we age, the lens finds it harder to focus on these close-up objects, leading to eye strain. Varifocal lenses allow the wearer to see at any distance, because they have different sections for viewing things close up, in the middle distance, and far away. These are great for those of us jumping from the computer to the car, to the phone, to the shops. A huge variety of designer glasses come with varifocals, such as this slick, chocolate-brown DKNY pair, pictured.
Pictured: DKNY DK1008 Women’s glasses, €189, Specsavers.
3 Reduce glare. Reflections on your computer screen can cause glare and lead to eye strain. Try reducing this by attaching an anti-glare screen to your monitor or windows to avoid external light shining onto the screen. Glasses wearers can also have lenses treated with an anti-glare coating, such as Specsavers UltraClear SuperClean, to help limit the impact of light reflections on your eyes to reduce eye strain. They are also smudge and scratch resistant, which help to give an overall clearer view of your screen too. Any pair of glasses can be treated with UltraClear SuperClean at Specsavers, even designer styles such as this clear pink Kylie Minogue pair, pictured below.
Pictured: Kylie Minogue Fever Women’s glasses, €149, Specsavers.
4 Adjust your workstation. Adjusting your screen settings to ensure that the brightness and contrast are balanced correctly can help, as well as making fonts larger. Also be mindful of how your workstation is positioned. Adjust your screen so it is 15-20 degrees below eye level and around 50-70cm away from the eyes and make sure your room is properly lit to avoid squinting.
5 For those with digitally demanding jobs to do – try SuperDigital lenses. Unlike traditional varifocals, the near vision zone in SuperDigital lenses is designed to complement the way we hold our phones, generally held in a closer, higher position than other screens. Transitioning between the two can be difficult. Many styles at Specsavers can be adjusted to include this feature – such as these Marc Jacobs spectacles with polished-gold wire rims – so that you don’t compromise on sleekness for your sight.
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