Increased use of digital devices is ruining people’s eye health in the UK

I won’t lie, like everyone else, I also spent the lockdown being glued to my smartphone and having late-night marathons of action movies. But what is one supposed to do when there’s so much time at hand? And you’ll agree that we all needed to take our minds off of the disturbing news doing rounds on the internet.

However, when I think of it now, I feel bad for what I did to my eyes. I used to have no eyesight problems and now I wear glasses. I didn’t eat my carrots when I was a kid but my eyesight has always been good (I guess it has to do something with genes). But unfortunately, when I had an eye test after the lockdown was over, I failed the test and left the optometrist’s office with a prescription.

I didn’t want any further damage to my eyes so I got prescription glasses made for myself. I bought them from an online glasses store as it was my first time buying glasses. But if you have any experience in that field, you can also buy online prescription glasses in the UK with less turnaround time.

And guess what? I am not the only one whose eyesight turned bad after the lockdown. There are so many else like me. There are people reporting eye pain and other visual symptoms with a screen heavy routine. This problem is known as digital eye strain that stems from spending long hours on digital screens.

What is digital eye strain?

Digital eye strain refers to a group of eye-related symptoms that you feel after using digital screens for a long time. If you spend too long staring at bright screens without taking any breaks in between, then you will most probably experience digital eye strain.

The screens you look at emitting blue light which is unforgiving to your eyes. It has short wavelengths but high-energy rays that have a big impact on your eye health.

Blue light is dispersed easily whether in the environment or a digital screen. This makes the screens appear pixilated to your eyes. Thus, your eyes struggle and feel tired from constantly changing focus. After you’ve spent a few hours looking at your smartphone or computer, your eyes start to hurt as the ocular muscles run out of fuel.

Symptoms of digital eye strain

Eye strain might trigger different symptoms in different people. However, some of the most common ones are:

  • Eye pain
  • Sore eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

If you feel any of the signs above, put your screen down and give your eyes some rest to recover.

Blue light glasses for eye strain

I wish I knew about these glasses earlier so that my eyesight was as good as I was before the pandemic or lockdown.

Blue light glasses or they’re also called blue light blocker glasses help in eliminating blue light and thereby the symptoms of eye strain.

These glasses have blue light filters on the lenses that block blue waves and help your eyes to focus easily on the screen. Moreover, these are also able to reduce glare which disturbs your vision when you’re looking at bright screens.

Blue light glasses may or may not have lens tints depending on the brand or retailer you buy from. However, when you buy them, make sure you read the label and buy glasses that block a good amount of blue light.

I have this filter in my current glasses as my screen time is still high. But now I don’t worry about my eyes as I know they are safe behind my glasses.

What else you should do to prevent eye strain?

If you think blue light glasses are the only thing you need to cut off eye strain, you’re wrong. There are so many lifestyle changes and habits that’ll help you lower the impact of screen time on your eye health.

Here are a set of guidelines you can follow to reduce eye strain:

  • Make sure you take a break from your screen every 20 minutes. It will relax your eyes and they’ll feel more refreshed after the break. And while you’re on the break, try not to look at another screen.
  • Use warm compresses when your eyes feel too dry. It will stimulate the tear glands and they’ll produce more tears.
  • Make use of blue light monitors that automatically control blue light emission and prevent eye strain.
  • Take regular eye exams to get the latest updates regarding the health and status of your eyes.
  • Use blue light glasses especially if you use devices at nighttime before going to bed.
  • Make sure the lighting level in your room is not either too bright or too dim.
  • Have room for natural light in the room as it’s the best for your eyes.

Screen time is not good but many of us spend hours on our devices anyway. And even when you’re indulging in screen time, make it safe with blue light glasses.

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