As lockdown restrictions continue and schools remain closed, Specsavers, with a branch location at Golden Island Shopping Centre, is reminding children to take extra care of their eyes as they spend more time on their screens through home schooling.
The advice follows research by the opticians that showed eye strain and other sight-related issues have increased significantly since the first lockdown as we inevitably spend more time on our screens for home learning and entertainment. Sixty percent of individuals spent on average five hours looking at screens, including laptops, monitors, phones and TV on weekdays last year.
When you consider that excessive screen time can impact our eyes, it’s not a surprise to learn that the survey showed that 42 percent of individuals reported a deterioration in their sight since the first lockdown and since summer 2020, the number of people suffering from eye strain alone has increased by more than a quarter (27 percent ).
Kerril Hickey, Specsavers Ireland optician and chairman, wants to make sure children are informed about the impact increased screen time can have on our eye health and to give them some TLC during this third lockdown.
“Our eyes are not designed to be fixed on a single object for a long period of time. When we focus on our screens, especially smaller format laptops, tablets or smart devices, eyes become stressed and strained. They may feel uncomfortable, sore, tired and as if they are itching or burning. You may also be experiencing blurred vision and headaches too.
“We all know that spending time away from the screen and enjoying the great outdoors is good for mental health and helps to keep us fit but there is other interesting research that shows it is good for children’s vision. There have been various studies conducted by eye health experts worldwide that shows it can help reduce the chances of children becoming short-sightedness.
“Children and adults should all be taking a break from looking at their screen every 20 minutes. Our research showed that only a third (37 percent ) of parents were aware of this fact so we believe lots of children out there are not aware of this rule either.’
“Eye strain has become a problem for many of us as our lifestyles have changed but the good news is that you can manage eye strain and irritation with some simple tips,” Kerril remarked.
Follow the 20:20:20 rule: Look up from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds when doing your schoolwork online. Looking into the distance helps relax the focusing muscles of your eyes, which in turn reduces eye fatigue. It is good to try and do this when gaming and watching any social media content too.
Watch your position: Do not do your homework online lying on a bed or sofa! It is important that you are sitting correctly and have your laptop or PC in the right position for schoolwork. Adjust your screen so it is 15-20 degrees below eye level and around 50-70cm away from the eyes and make sure your room is properly lit to avoid squinting.
Reduce glare: Adjusting your screen settings to ensure that the brightness and contrast are balanced correctly can help reduce eye strain. Reflections on your computer screen can eye issues too so try reducing this by attaching an anti-glare screen to your monitor or windows to avoid external light shining onto the screen.
Check your font size: Make sure the font size isn’t too small. If you find you need to crank the font size up quite a lot, you might need to tell your parents so they can book you an eye examination to see if you require glasses.
For more information or to request an appointment at your local Golden Island SC store or visit www.specsavers.ie