Doctors in UAE see spike in eye issues as screen time increases
Doctors have advised adopting necessary measures to minimise the impact of what is known as 'Computer Vision Syndrome'.
There has been a rise in the number of people complaining of eye issues, such as redness, dry and tired eyes, according to doctors in the UAE.
With youngsters glued to their gadgets to keep up with distance learning and adults spending more time on their laptops as they work from home, doctors have advised adopting necessary measures to minimise the impact of what is known as 'Computer Vision Syndrome'.
Dr Mohit Jain, ophthalmologist at RAK Hospital, said: "Using digital devices during distance learning is unavoidable. However, when we focus on a screen, the muscles in the eyes contract. If the muscles stay contracted for too long, they get tired and lead to strain and may affect eyesight, especially in the growing age."
Students staring at screens for long periods of time may end up wearing glasses, and if they are already wearing a pair, the power may increase rapidly, he warned.
"More severe consequences of prolonged screen time can be blurred vision, neck pain, dizziness, double vision, and difficulty in refocusing eyes," Dr Jain added.
As a first step, parents must restrict kids' use of devices for entertainment and amusement, the doctor said. "Children need to follow the 20-20-20 rule. After every 20 minutes of screen time, they should look away and stare at a distance of approximately 20 feet for 20 seconds before looking back at the device. This helps to relax the eye muscles."
Highlighting some common mistakes people make while on their screens, Dr Mazen Senjab, consultant ophthalmologist at Medcare Eye Centre, said: "Most of the time we are so focused on our work, staring at our screens, that we tend to blink far less than we would usually do. This can lead to redness and dryness of the eyes. Blinking keeps the eyes moist and clean."
Taking breaks every hour is important, too, Dr Senjab said.
"Some people take a break from their work or studies and then start chatting, checking social media or watching videos on another screen. This is not relaxation for your eyes. Leave your gadgets during your break and look at something at a distance."
Tips to keep your eyes healthy
>Blink more often when looking at your screens as it helps keep the eyes moist
>Take frequent breaks - ideally a 10-minute break after every hour. Do not use any screens during this time instead, look at something at a distance of 20 feet
>Keep devices and computers at a safe distance of 18 to 26 inches to avoid 'over-contracting' the eye muscles
>Sit in a place where natural sunlight comes in. This is far more beneficial to the eyes
>Keep getting up and moving around after every 30 minutes and keep yourself hydrated
>Place your screen 15 to 20cm below eye level