A sight for sore eyes: How to keep your eyes healthy while working online

Photo of eye glasses
Celine Bellegarda/Staff

Related Posts

Last week, I had a much-needed appointment with my ophthalmologist and discovered that my shortsightedness had worsened and my eye power decreased by a whopping 0.5. Spending the last five months staring at a screen 24/7 is largely to blame. Unfortunately, given the current situation, reducing screen time is going to be an impossible feat, but what is in our control is practicing healthy eye care habits that can help reduce the toll on our eyes.

Eat foods rich in vitamin A

Multiple studies have shown the impact of vitamin A on promoting good eyesight. It protects the cornea — the outermost surface of the eye — and is often a component of eye drops that provide relief against dry eyes and inflammation. So be sure to include foods rich in vitamin A, such as carrots, spinach, pumpkin, sweet potato, whole milk and ricotta cheese, in your diet.

Follow the 20-20-20 rule

I recently read about a handy strategy called the 20-20-20 rule, which helps to reduce eyestrain, especially if you’re looking at a screen for prolonged periods of time. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen for 20 seconds at something that is 20 feet away. This technique ensures that your eyes get a break from the harsh blue light from your screen, and it prevents dry eyes.

Practice eye exercises

Now more than ever before, it’s important to take time out of each day to practice some eye exercises, as these not only reduce eyestrain but also enable our eyes to work more efficiently. The easiest ones to make a habit of are eye movements and the “figure eight.” Simply close your eyes and practice moving them up and down three times, then left and right three times. For the figure eight, all you need to do is select a spot on the ground 8 feet away and trace the number “8” with your eyes.

Follow these tips for eyeglasses and contact lenses

Research has shown that technological devices emit blue light, which is responsible for the ill effect of devices on our eyesight. Hence, my doctor recommended that I upgrade my generic prescription glasses to a specific type that blocks this blue light.

If you wear contact lenses, now might be a good time to wear your spectacles as much as possible. One of the negative impacts of prolonged digital screen time is its tendency to dry out your eyes, which is unhealthy. Wearing contacts exacerbates this process, as contact lenses are known to cause dryness. It might also be a good idea to purchase over-the-counter eye drops to combat dryness if you wear contact lenses.

So there you have it! You can do these things this very instant to keep your eyes as healthy as possible.

Contact Nandita Radhakrishnan at [email protected]