During the pandemic, we’ve been doubling down on screen time, which has led to one in three people reporting deteriorating eyesight. Digital eye strain (DES) causes many symptoms, from dry eyes and blurred vision to headaches, neck and shoulder pain. Now may be the time to get smart with restricting screen time or optimising your eyewear to protect one of your greatest assets: your eyes.
There are lots of different wavelengths of visible light. Violet and blue light have higher energy, with invisible ultraviolet (UV) having the most energy of all. This makes it most damaging to eyes. Blue light is good for your health. It’s everywhere; the biggest source of it is the sun. But more and more research is suggesting that the blue light from devices could impair sleep and cause eyestrain.
Sade Anter, Brand Manager for Luxottica South Africa, says, “We need to be cognisant of protecting our eyes from UV rays and screen-induced eye strain. With successive lockdowns and lots of time at home, many of us are struggling to shut off – whether that means turning off the work laptop or resisting the ‘scroll’ on Instagram! So, now could be the moment for an eye test and a well-timed intervention. Speak to your optometrist about ways to protect your vision, now and in the long term.”
Here are some top tips to ditch DES and protect your eyes:
Get professional help
Even if you have perfect vision, schedule an annual visit with your eye care provider to discuss preventative measures. DES can be tricky to diagnose as many symptoms also fit with fatigue. Your optometrist could give you eye exercises to do during the day (like making the figure eight with your finger and following this with your eyes). Or suggest a len that can mitigate the strain.
Filter it out
Using blue-filter eyewear can empower you to move between devices without added eye strain. Innovative brands like Ray-Ban, with its Ever-Clear collection, have released ranges with blue light lenses that may help prevent DES.
There may be a chill in the air, but UV rays remain a risk. Ultra-violet radiation is just as high during Winter as it is in Summer and can contribute to eye degeneration and aging the eye area. Polarised lenses help reduce the glare and give you UVA/UVB protection. It’s not just sports brands like Oakley that have polarised lenses; high-fashion brands like Burberry, Prada and Emporio Armani often do as well.
Switch it out
If you have an eyewear prescription, try to give your eyes a break by wearing glasses instead of contacts a few days a week. Not only can this decrease your risk for eye infections, wearing glasses can minimise some DES symptoms such as dry eyes, itching and double vision.
Pick the right pair
Thanks to an abundance of options in optical and sunglass offerings, the right pair of frames can be comfortable and complimentary to face shape. Speak to an optometrist to find the perfect pair.
“Remember that your preferences and needs might change. It is important to regularly assess the overall look and feel of your eyewear to ensure it’s still working for you. Optometry and eyewear are evolving all the time. Luxottica is on the forefront of this. We’re continuously adapting our offering to meet our clients’ needs, with stylish – and protective – solutions. Now’s the time to put your eyes first.”