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How to Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Do your eyes feel more tired than ever? Are you experiencing a burning sensation in your eyes? Do you often complain of headaches, pain in the shoulders and neck? If your answer is yes, then probably you are suffering from the digital vision syndrome.

The sudden switch from brick and mortar to virtual classrooms have been quite challenging not just for you but also for your eyes. In our efforts to continue supporting you, Aakash conducted a Live Webinar with Dr Prashaant Chaudhry, Senior Consultant & Ophthalmologist at Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospitality (MD, AIIMS) on how to avoid digital eye strain and take care of your eyes when the screen time has increased exponentially over the past few months.

10 Key Takeaway Points:

  1. 20-20-20 Rule

Looking at the screen for a prolonged time tend to make your eyes very tired. To help relax your eyes, follow 20-20-20 rule, i.e. every 20 minutes, take a break for 20 seconds. Move around a little, do some stretching to improve your posture and give your body and mind a break. Looking as far as 20 feet away will help your eyes to a great extent. A 20-sec break will give your eyes the required small breather and your eyes won’t feel sore. Make sure you don’t use your smartphones during this time as it may be a little break for your mind but definitely not for the eyes.

  1. Blink often

While looking at the screen, our eyes tend to focus more that they forget to blink. Blinking is essential to help keep the eyes moisturised and reduce the possibility of dry eye syndrome. Conscious blinking is extremely important. Just close your eyes for 2 seconds, open it, then close it for 2 seconds, squeeze and so on. Doing this more often will make your eyes feel much better and avoid dryness. Additionally, make sure your room is well-lit, there’s sufficient light. If the ambience is too dark, it will strain the eyes. Further, your screen should be at least at an arm’s distance. The further the better for your eyes.

  1. Adjust Your Screen Brightness

Your screen should neither be too bright that it causes glare nor should it be too dark that it causes strain. To adjust your screen, use a white paper. Now hold this white paper parallel to your screen in normal light. Your screen brightness should match the white paper and merge with the environment.

  1. Cut Down Your Screen Time

As online learning emerges as the best learning tool amid COVID-19 pandemic, students are spending hours and hours on the screen. Hence, it is important to cut down your screen time to only what is essential. In other words, reducing your screen time on social media apps, reading E-papers, binge-watching shows etc. can make a remarkable difference in keeping your eyes healthy.

  1. Indulge in Indoor/Outdoor Games

The younger the children, the more hazardous effect it has on the eyes. Too much screen time increases the risk of wearing glasses and increases the power in those of you who already have glasses. Instead, play indoor games, go for a walk, have some hobby, do some exercise, etc. This will reduce the risk of wearing glasses and for those of you who already have glasses, this will help in keeping your eye power in control. Besides, going for jogging in the morning will help you get the right amount of sun exposure. The sunlight will allow your body to produce Vitamin D, thereby negating the effect of screen time to some extent by causing a protective reflect.

  1. Blue-cut Lenses

Now we all have heard quite a lot about the Blue-cut lenses. But how do the Blue-cut lenses protect your eyes? The Blue-cut lenses cut down the harmful UV and blue light emitting from the screen and allow only the useful light to pass. If you are already using prescription glasses, it is better to invest in Blue-cut lenses. However, for those of you, who do not have power, investing in Blue-cut lenses will not be of much help. Instead, cutting down on screen time, looking far away for 20 seconds, blinking often, etc. will prove beneficial for the eyes. Besides, make sure you do not use the tech devices 2 hours before the bedtime and even if you do, keep them on night mode.

  1. Eye Exercises

Doing some simple eye exercises can be very relaxing for your eyes and help release all the strain.

  • Pencil Push-up exercise helps strengthen your eye muscles. All you need to do is look at the tip of the pencil for 20 seconds, now gradually bring it closer to your eyes, look at it for 20 seconds and then slowly move it away from your eyes. Repeat this for 5 minutes.
  • Next, you can do is palming. Just rub your hands together for a few seconds. Now put the palms of your hands on your cheekbones and place the fingers on your eyes. Let the warmth of your hands sweep through the eyes. Doing this will have a calming effect on your eyes. You can do this exercise after every class.
  • Once a day, do eye-rotational exercises. Move your eyes in all directions – left to right - right to left and repeat. Now look up and down – hold a few secs - down and up, and repeat. Now look up and right, left and down, and repeat. Up and right, left and down and hold for a few seconds. Up and left, right and down, left and up, down and right. Move your eyes clockwise and anti-clockwise.
  1. Good Posture

A good posture results in proper blood circulation to the brain and increases productivity. Always sit with your back straight, hands at the level of the keyboard and legs properly placed on the ground. A good posture keeps your spine upright and your neck and shoulders relaxed, and proper distance from the screen keeps your eyes healthy.

  1. Eat Healthy & Stay Hydrated

We are what we eat. Indulge in healthy and nutritious food high in Vitamin A & Beta Carotene, Vitamin C & E, Lutein & Zeaxanthin, Zinc and essential fatty acids. Vegetables such as Spinach, Carrots and other green leafy vegetables are good for the eyes. Walnuts and flax seeds are also beneficial for the eyes. Additionally, drink at least 2-3 litres of water every day to keep yourself well-hydrated.

  1. Cold Compression

Avoid rubbing your eyes if they feel itchy. Ice packs and cold compression goes a long way in removing the inflammation of the eye. Just take the ice pack, wrap it in a handkerchief and place it on one eye for 30 seconds and then on the second eye. Doing this once a day has a similar effect as that of using an eye drop in taking care of the allergies and inflammation of eyes.

Dr. Prashaant Chaudhry,

Sr. Consultant, and HOD - Department of Ophthalmology & Refractive Surgery

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