Modern living's impact on your health
Eye Health As a nation, we are continuously glued to our screens, whether that be our computers or our mobile phones, but is it having a real impact on our eyes?
Research shows that are spending, on average, eight hours a day looking at screens of some description. Three quarters of those surveyed in a recent study admitted to spending more time at their screens now than they did five years ago (77 per cent). It is only one in five (21 per cent) that said they could live without technologies like mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
However, this could be exacerbating dry eye symptoms, as staring at a screen reduces an individual’s blink rate to by up to 60 per cent, potentially triggering dryness, grittiness and soreness.
In light of the nation’s growing reliance on technology, leading eye care specialist, Optrex, is working with top optometrist, Brian Tompkins, to put a spotlight on the nation’s ‘Screen Eyes’, providing handy tips and advice to manage the condition.
Brian commented: “It’s unsurprising that people aren’t taking preventative measures to combat the effects of ‘Screen Eyes’ – I often find that people have no idea where to start. It’s clearly unrealistic to advise people not to use screens, as they’re often a fundamental part of both professional and personal lives”.
Brian’s top tips:
Contact lens wear:
‘I can’t wear contact lenses because I have dry eye’. I hear this myth a lot but often it is not very accurate. Individuals that suffer from dry eyes can absolutely wear contact lenses, they simply need to be fitted properly by an eye care professional – it could be the case that a specialist contact lens for a dry eye sufferer is the best solution.
Eyelid hygiene usually gets very little attention, but it is crucial when caring for your vision. Be sure to give your lids a regular clean, preferably using specially designed wipes. Contrary to popular belief, you should steer clear of baby shampoos as they destroy the eye’s lipid layer, which could lead to dry eyes.
Place post-it notes all around your desk at work encouraging you to blink every few minutes. You could even look to impose a communal ‘blink break’ at work to ensure this happens regularly.
‘You are what you eat’ doesn’t only apply to your digestive system but extends to your eye health also. Eating plenty of oily fish, fresh food, nutrient-rich vegetables and omega 3-packed nuts will help promote lipid production.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule:
Especcially when working with screens... it’s easy, every 20 minutes, close your eyes for 20 seconds and then blink 20 times!
Try using drops or an eye spray as this will help stabilise the eye’s lipid layer.