Eye Health During Lockdowns – What to Expect

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought about significant changes in our daily lives. From working remotely to practicing social distancing, we have all had to adapt to a new way of living. One aspect that may have been overlooked during these challenging times is our eye health. With many of us spending increased time in front of screens and limited access to eye care professionals, understanding what to expect and how to maintain good eye health is crucial.

Increased Screen Time and its Impact

During lockdowns, our reliance on screens has grown substantially. Whether it’s working from home, attending virtual meetings, or enjoying entertainment on our devices, we find ourselves spending more time staring at screens than ever before. This increased screen time can have various consequences on our eyes.

One common complaint is digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. Symptoms include dryness, itchiness, blurred vision, and headaches. The combination of less blinking and extended periods of screen usage contributes to these issues. To alleviate this, follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Additionally, ensure that your workstation is set up ergonomically, with the screen at eye level and proper lighting.

Importance of Regular Eye Exams

During lockdowns, routine eye exams may have been postponed or canceled due to closures and restrictions. However, it is essential not to neglect your eye health. Regular eye exams play a significant role in detecting and preventing potential issues before they become more severe. They can identify conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, which may require prompt treatment.

If you have been unable to schedule an eye exam due to lockdown measures, consider reaching out to your eye care professional to discuss alternatives. Many clinics now offer virtual consultations, which allow for a preliminary assessment of your eye health and may provide guidance on managing specific concerns until an in-person visit is possible.

Maintaining Good Eye Hygiene

Proper eye hygiene is crucial, particularly during a pandemic. The risk of transmitting the virus through the eyes has been a topic of concern. While evidence suggests that the primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets, taking precautions to protect your eyes is still advisable.

Wearing a face mask and regularly washing your hands are essential practices to minimize the risk of infection. Avoid touching your face, specifically your eyes, as this can introduce germs to the sensitive area. If you wear contact lenses, ensure strict adherence to good hygiene practices when handling them.

Eye Conditions and Mental Well-being

During these challenging times, many individuals have experienced heightened anxiety, stress, and depression. These mental health conditions can also impact our eyes and vision. Stress, in particular, can trigger eye-related issues such as dryness, redness, and even vision changes.

It is essential to prioritize mental well-being and engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction. Regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and seeking support from loved ones or professionals can help alleviate these effects on both our mental health and eye health.

Taking Breaks and Practicing Eye Exercises

Since many of us are spending more time indoors and in front of screens, it is crucial to take breaks and give our eyes a rest. Incorporate regular breaks into your daily routine, and use this time to engage in eye exercises that can help reduce eye strain.

One simple exercise is palming – gently rub your hands together to generate warmth and cup them over your closed eyes. Sit in this position for a few minutes and allow your eyes to relax and rejuvenate. You can also practice eye rolling, eye focusing, and eye stretching exercises to keep your eye muscles flexible and agile.

In addition to these exercises, ensure that your environment is well-lit, and consider using artificial tears or eye drops to combat dryness. Maintaining sufficient hydration is also beneficial for both your overall health and eye health.

In conclusion, COVID-19 lockdowns and increased screen time can have significant effects on our eye health. It is crucial to be proactive in maintaining good eye hygiene, taking regular breaks, and practicing eye exercises. While it may be challenging to access traditional eye care services, exploring alternatives such as virtual consultations can help address specific concerns. By prioritizing our eye health and being mindful of the impact lockdown measures can have, we can strive towards maintaining optimal vision and well-being.