(DENVER, Colo.) — NEWS: As social distancing becomes a normal way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic many individuals are participating in increased screen time. The Colorado Optometric Association (COA) and the public health campaign 2020 Eyes Colorado, have collected tips from its doctors of optometry on how to keep eyes healthy as technology has become the hub for employees, social circles, students, teachers, families, and entire communities to stay connected.
“This increased screen time for many is an important part of life and staying healthy mentally and emotionally, which makes reducing screen time not possible for many. There are still a number of preventative measures individuals can take to reduce the impact of screen time on eye health while staying connected,” says Dr. Matt Buchanan, COA Board President.
It can be difficult for some individuals to understand why their vision is suddenly blurry or they’re experiencing more headaches. But Colorado optometrists know the eye health challenges that come with increased screen time.
Potential Signs That Screen Time is Impacting Your Eyes
* Increased headaches or migraines
* Dry eyes
* Red eyes
* Itchy eyes
* Watery eyes
* Blurred vision
* Light sensitivity
* Eye strain
Tips for Keeping Eyes Healthy During Increased Screen Time
Observe the 20-20-20 Rule
Adults and children should take frequent screen breaks by practicing the 20-20-20 rule. When using any screen, every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away. To get in the habit of this, set a timer every 20 minutes for a few days as a reminder to use the 20-20-20 exercise.
Take Blink Breaks
Looking at a screen naturally has users blinking less and that can cause dry eyes, which can also cause a number of issues including blurry vision. When you take your 20-20-20 break be sure to take a few long blinks. This will help hydrate your eyes and reduce any discomfort from reduced blinking.
Reduce Blue Light
Blue light is linked to computer fatigue and eye strain. Colorado optometrists recommend wearing glasses that filter out this light. If you’re unsure about finding true blue light glasses, you can contact your optometry office for recommendations.
Buy an Alarm Clock
Blue light suppresses our bodies production of melatonin. This is one of the chemicals that tells our body it is time to go to sleep. Eliminating nighttime phone use in your bedroom tends to nurture better sleep and it eliminates blue light exposure from looking at your phone during the night. It’s recommended that you use an alarm clock in your bedroom and keep your phone in another room or on customized “do not disturb settings” while being placed across the room.
Establish a Screen Schedule
During this time, we can’t get away from using screens, but it’s important to evaluate if there is any way to reduce screen time. Many families are finding that no screens after 8pm is a great rule to start winding down for bed and reducing stress. Begin looking at ways to reduce mindless social media scrolling and shift some of your entertainment choices to non-screen activities during certain times of the day or week.
Check Your Vision
If you’re experiencing more headaches, blurry vision or eye discomfort it’s probably a good idea to get a comprehensive eye exam in the near future with your local optometrist. This will ensure that your eyes are equipped with the correct prescription lenses/contacts and that any other vision issues are addressed. Stay away from online eye exams or vision screenings as they are not a reliable tool for the full picture of your eye health.
Colorado’s doctors or optometry are fully open and offering all services including routine care! Find a local optometrist here – https://2020eyescolorado.org/
About the Colorado Optometric Association (COA):
The Colorado Optometric Association (COA) is the professional organization of optometrists in Colorado. Over 600 Colorado Doctors of Optometry are voluntary members of the Association.
Since 1892, the COA has assisted its members in providing the highest standard of professional care to their patients by sponsoring continuing education programs for doctors, advocating in local and state governments for programs and laws that represent patients’ best interests, and providing information for the public. For more information, please visit http://www.visioncare.org/ or call 303-863-9778.
Related link: https://colorado.aoa.org/
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