The Pandemic’s Effect on our Eyes
The answer, in most cases, is probably YES, the pandemic has done something to our eyes.
Many of our patients have been complaining because they are working from home, and that they are working longer hours than normal, which is increasing screen time for most of these people. It’s a lot of strain looking at something so close. Our eyes were meant to be looking at the horizon.
Myopia or nearsightedness (you can’t see far away) seems to have become more 1-3X more prevalent in 2020 and home confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic appeared to be associated with a significant myopic shift for children aged 6 to 8 years. Read more
Eye strain occurs when you spend too much time looking at screens. Everybody who spends a lot of time working on computers and digital devices is at major risk of developing dry eyes, which may sound trivial but in reality, most dry eye conditions are caused by gland atrophy in the lids.
Your lid glands, which provide your eyes the moisture they desperately need, atrophy if you don’t use them enough. While our doctors used to see gland atrophy only in older patients, they are increasingly seeing it in their teenage patients. When you look at screens, you don’t blink as much as you would when looking elsewhere. So please, for the your eye health, blink. Do it right now. BLINK!
If you’re like most adults — tied to a computer for work and tied to the television for fun — you’re not a lost cause: You just have to start doing blinking exercises. Every hour, you should take a break to look far away from your screen. Blink five purposeful blinks with complete closures and on your final blink, you squeeze and hold for a little while.
So, instead of being paranoid about our eyesight rapidly deteriorating, shift your focus to blinking. Be a blink evangelist!
Reach out to family, friends, and co-workers, imploring them to blink. And now, we are asking you to do the same.
Give yourself a break from working, from Instagram, from obsessively reading about all the terrible and upsetting things happening in the world.
Take a minute every hour to look away and close your eyes. Somehow in the darkness, with your eyeballs moist and safe, everything feels just a little bit better.