FOUR EYES: Biloela Optical optometrist James Cullen said that the 20/20/20 rule is an easy way to take a break from the screens.
FOUR EYES: Biloela Optical optometrist James Cullen said that the 20/20/20 rule is an easy way to take a break from the screens.

Residents developing ‘square eyes’ during lockdown

INCREASED time in front of the screens when working or completing school online has been having an affect on our eyes.

Biloela Optical optometrist James Cullen said that in recent weeks there’s been a higher than average amount of clients presenting themselves to the practice with symptoms of digital eye strain.

“A few more than average with a lot of computer work with home school and on iPads,” Mr Cullen said.

“It’s a continuation of a long-term trend over the last decade as there’s been more schools doing laptop classes and on iPads.

“It’s come to be more of an obvious peak right now.

“Twenty years ago we wouldn’t of bothered doing half the reading glasses we do for younger people but we are finding younger and younger people are needing help.”

New research, commissioned by Specsavers just before COVID-19 restrictions came into effect indicated that the majority of Australian office workers were already experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain, with nine out of ten people claiming to have experienced at least one symptom of digital eye strain while at work.

“Even if you have perfect eyes you’re going to get a headache and strain on your eyes because those muscles weren’t designed for that much work,” Mr Cullen said.

“It’s an unnatural thing to stare at screens all day.

“I think there’s’ evidence to suggest the lack of outside time is contributing to the short sightedness pandemic.”

With the cooler weather now here, Mr Cullen added that the cold dry air has seen more clients with dry and irritated eyes.

“People sitting in an airconditioned office are having their eyes dried as well,” Mr Cullen said

“The dry air and the low blink rate when on the computer make people feel like they have gravel in their eyes.

“A lot of people get lower level dryness being in Biloela anyway with the air being very dry sometimes.”

Since early March the practice had staggered their appointments to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and have only just return to a normalised booking schedule in the last week.

Mr Cullen said that the 20/20/20 rule is an easy method to give yourself a break from the screen, every 20 minutes stare at something 20 metres away for 20 seconds.



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