Eye strain and computers during the COVID-19  lockdown.

The social isolation measures taken around the world due to the oronavirus pandemic have meant that lots of us are spending a greater amount of time looking at screens at home.

This can often lead to irritation in the eyes with watering, headaches and eye strain.

Spending a lot of time looking at one particular distance does not lead to any harm to your eyes and these symptoms whilst concerning are not an indicator that you are doing any permanent harm to your eyes.


Looking at a computer screen

To help the muscles that control the movement of your eyes relax, it is advisable to limit the amount of time that you spend looking at a screen in one go and periodically spend some time looking at something different.  A good rule of thumb is to look at something at 20 feet for 20 seconds every 20 minutes whilst you are using a computer screen.   This will allow the muscles to relax and reduce the amount of eye strain you are experiencing.

Modern computer screens emit very low levels of different wavelengths of light and there is no evidence that this causes any long term harm to the health of your eyes.


Scratchy feeling in your eyes

Spending a long time looking at a screen can make your eyes feel dry and irritated.  We know that concentrating hard on a screen whether it’s from work or watching a movie means you blink less.  Blinking allows moisture to spread over the delicate front surface of the eye and keeps it comfortable.  Also, most indoor environments, especially where you are using a computer, are slightly less humid than normal which leads to more evaporation of the tears from the eye.

Try to concentrate on regular blinking whilst you are using a screen.  Often looking away from the screen every 10 minutes will help or using lubricating eye drops.  For further information please click here.

If you feel your eyes are getting tired and irritated take preventative measures before the problem gets bad rather than waiting until things get intolerable.