Breaks For Eyes

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Prolonged exposure to phone/laptop screens during lockdown can have a damaging effect

11 Tips for Eliminating Computer Eye Strain. Take a break - Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. Blink frequently - Do not forget to blink periodically. Staring at computer screens can dry our eyes and cause redness and irritation. To prevent eyestrain, try to rest eyes when using the computer for long periods. Resting the eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use. Also, for every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow the eyes a chance to refocus. Many of us spend a good deal of our time staring at screens from laptops, computers, smartphones, gaming systems and television. This can put a lot of strain on our eyes and cause eye fatigue. When using your screens give your eyes a break. Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. Also, remember to blink frequently during the exercises to reduce your risk of computer-related dry eye. Take frequent breaks. To reduce your risk for computer vision syndrome and neck, back and shoulder pain, take frequent screen breaks during your work day (at least one 10-minute break every hour).


Regularly schedule breaks for your eyes is the most frequently recommended method for preventing eye strain. The extension also gives you instructions for eye exercises. It’s a one-click install, and it has a 4.5/5 star review by users.

While working from home under the fear of the Covid-19 pandemic, long hours spent in front of digital screens of all sizes have added to the vulnerability of one of the most important organs, the eyes. Ophthalmologists fear a rise in cases of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) or Digital Eye Strain (DES), terms that cover a range of ailments caused by prolonged exposure to computer, phone and TV screens.
Don’t forget to blink
CVS or DES refer to a group of eye related problems, which were detected among IT professionals and those wo spent in excess of seven hours in front of their computer screens. Over the years, these ailments were seen to also arise from extended use of electronic gadgets like the mobile phones, tablets and e-book readers.

“This is not a new phenomenon. For the last few years, we have been treating patients with Computer Vision Syndrome,” says ophthalmologist Dr Lowai DawoodiBreaks of Saifee Hospital. “Most are ignorant about how the eyes get damaged and therefore take no precautions, neither for themselves nor for the children,” he adds.

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The symptoms associated with the CVS or DES vary from asthenopia or eye fatigue to sore eyes, itching, dry eye, headaches and double or blurred vision.
Since the lockdown was announced, the ‘daily activity use’ of several videotelephony services have increased by more than 100 per cent as the workforce and students switched to the online platform for office work and studies. According to some studies conducted during the lockdown, mobile usage in India went up by an average of 2.2 hours, while the rest of the world added an extra hour to the average time spent on their handheld communication devices.
Apart from dealing with the stress of surviving the pandemic, most have had to subject their eyes to much strain, while staying indoors.
“Usually a person blinks about 18-20 times per minute. But, when sitting in front of a screen, the number of blinks get reduced to 8-10 per minute,” says Dr Dawoodi. “Less blinking results in the eyes drying up fast. It is important to blink to keep the anterior surface of the eyes moist for clear vision.”
Dry eyes could also be caused by a machine that is common in most households these days and much in use for a comfortable stay indoors: the air-conditioner.
“Air-conditioners should not be positioned directly in front of us,” says Dr Sachin Fegde, eye surgeon with Suasth Hospital. “The best position to place an air-conditioner would be on the side, so that the air does not hit the eyes directly. Otherwise, the draft will cause dry eyes,” says Dr Fegde. Air conditioners, however, do help maintain the humidity level in the room, thus ensuring that the eyes remain moist.
Visual distancing is as important as social distancing

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While using smaller video display units like a mobile phone screen, it is important to keep the device at least 20-25 inches away from the eye. “Most of the time, when one uses the mobile while lying in bed, he or she tends to bring it close to the face — which can lead to digital eye strain,” says Dr Fegde.
The eye specialists also suggest that the screen of the laptop or the desktop should not be above or at the level of the eyes. For the least damage to the eyes, the gaze position should be 15 to 20 degrees above the screen. The ophthalmologists say, if the screen is kept above the eye level, the person stares at the screen, thus reducing the number of blinks which leads to dryness.

Usually a person blinks about 18-20 times per minute. But, when sitting in front of a screen, the number of blinks get reduced to 8-10 per minute


The eye specialists also suggest that the walls in a room should not be painted with shiny exterior paint as it reflects light and could cause problems. While working on the computer, it is advisable for the windows to be on the side rather than at the front or the rear.
“If a person seated at a workstation, has her face towards windows, there would be a lot of light on her face, while the screen before her would be shielded from light,” says Dr Fegde. “If the windows are on the side, then the light gets evenly distributed,” he says. Dr Dawoodi also suggests taking Vitamin A supplements (natural sources include fish oils and green, leafy vegetables). Additionally, he recommends splashing the eyes with plain water once every hour. “This will provide limbs with a much-needed break after sitting for long durations, and allow the eyes some rest,” he says.
The 20:20:20 method

Eye experts suggest the 20:20:20 method to reduce damage caused to the eye. The procedure is simple. While working on a computer screen for 20 minutes, take a 20 second break to look at any object that is 20 feet away. The object could be anything inside the house or out of the window. The break will help the internal eye muscles relax, reduce stress and improve ocular health.

How To Give My Eyes A Break


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