THERE is no denying that the pandemic has led to an increase in screen time for many of us, however new research has revealed the extent of damage this is having on eye health, particularly in children.
Researchers found that children and teenagers have been spending more time in front of screens which has caused eye strain, blurred vision and dry eyes.
It also showed that children are quite often switching between multiple devices at one time which can increase eye strain by 22 per cent
For many, normal learning has now resumed back in the classroom, but it is still important to take note of some simple tips to help minimise the risk of eye strain when working at a computer or tablet.
Peadar Kearney, is the ophthalmic director at Specsavers Strabane.
He has warned of 'pandemic screen time' and the subsequent impact on our eyes
"Our eyes are not designed to be fixed on a single object for a long period of time," Peadar explained.
"When we focus on our screens, especially smaller format laptops, tablets or smart devices, eyes become stressed and strained.
"They may feel uncomfortable, sore, tired and as if they are itching or burning. You may also experience blurred vision and headaches too.
‘Eye strain has increased during the pandemic as our lifestyles have changed.
"But the good news is that you can help prevent eye strain and irritation with some simple tips."
These include; resting your eyes, adjusting your workstation and reducing glare.
Peadar continued: "Rest your eyes - 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.
"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.
"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."
For more information on eye strain visit https://www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health/
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