Listen To Your Eyes

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lifestyle in many ways, such as working from home instead of the office, how we get our exercise, and perhaps most excruciatingly, our ability, or more accurately, our inability to socialize; all leading to our consequential transition to online learning. 

With increased amount of time spent on our computers and phones, this may cause our eyes to strain. 

Taking eye breaks and steering away from the screen to go for a walk outdoors can give you some relief from dry eye, which is an irritating condition occasionally requiring medication.

To expand on this and to give expert eye health advice,  Dr. Shawn Moore, optometrist at Orillia Optometry in Orillia, Ont. said by email, “Conditions like dry eye can also present as blurry vision, so if you’re experiencing changes in your eyesight, patients still need to prioritize seeing an optometrist at this time to reassess their vision care needs. Your eye doctor might recommend using an eye drop with lipids, like SYSTANE® COMPLETE, or switching to a daily disposable contact lens.”

He continues, “While it’s tempting to turn to streaming services and e-books for entertainment after long days of working and learning on screens, I’m seeing patients in my clinic who are suffering from sore, tired eyes as a result, which could be a sign of dry eye caused by digital eyestrain,” says Dr. Moore.

Did you know the study of 1,000 Canadians requiring vision correction, conducted by research firm Leger, showed that 34 per cent of Canadians requiring vision correction say their eyes feel more tired during the pandemic than they did before; a possible sign of digital eyestrain, which is a condition caused by spending too much time in front of screens. 

A study found the effects of long-term computer use on the eyes suggest that digital eyestrain is a form of evaporative dry eye. 

As a result, tears evaporate on the surface of the eye and can cause them to feel dry, tired or irritated.

Here are some tips for keeping your eyes at their healthiest:

Give your eyes a rest:

When looking at screens, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look 20 feet away to fight digital eyestrain.

Find the right eye drops:

While dry eye is often a chronic condition that can’t be cured, the right eye drops can provide comfort and help improve symptoms. 

Lipids found in a drop like SYSTANE® completely restore the outer layer of the tear film, which helps prevent the tear evaporation often seen with digital eyestrain.

Consider a daily disposable contact lens. 

If your blurry vision is caused by a changing prescription and not dry eye, consider a daily disposable lens when updating your prescription, which eliminates the need for cleaning and storing your lenses.

Reassess your set up: 

Place your screen at an arm’s length away from you and adjust screen brightness to your surroundings, eliminating any harsh lighting near your workspace.

Visit your optometrist: 

Recognizing the increase in screen time during the pandemic is not the time to neglect your eye health. 

Regular eye exams are critical to ensuring your vision health, and only an eye care professional can diagnose a condition like dry eye or prescribe the right vision corrective device. 

Eye care professionals across Canada have put in place a number of COVID-19 safety precautions to help protect you while in their clinics. 

Many offer virtual appointments where appropriate and can provide direct shipping for products like contact lenses and eye drops.

Finally, give your eyes a break by going outdoors and enjoy some fresh air and exercise.

Fitness Friday is submitted by Christine Blanchette who you can follow on Twitter as well as her YouTube Channel so be sure to follow her  each and every week.