PROTECTING our eyesight has come into sharp focus as Spain continues to work and socialise from home during lockdown.
Specsavers Ópticas’ eye health experts are urging caution around the undue strain that staring for hours at a computer screen, excessive use of smart devices, overdosing on TV, back-to-back tele and video conferencing and face-timing family and friends, will place on people’s senses in their bid to beat boredom and keep themselves entertained.
The optician’s eye health experts have devised an at-home health guide packed with advice and tips to help the nation protect their eyes at this difficult time.
AT-HOME SENSORY HEALTH GUIDE
AVOIDING EYE STRAIN
Working on a laptop, using a mobile to keep in touch with loved ones and abreast of the news or settling down to a box set with your family – daily screen time is likely to increase dramatically in the coming weeks.
Specsavers Ópticas optometrist and store director Amrik Sappal says: ‘As we’re mostly confined to our homes and with 99.5% of Spanish households owning a television, it’s no stretch to assume many of us will spend more time in front of a screen.
‘But eyes are not designed to be fixated on a single object for a long period of time so can often become strained when we focus on screens, especially if they are a smaller laptop, tablet or smart device screens.
‘While eye strain is uncomfortable, it is not usually serious, and tends to alleviate once you rest your eyes. Symptoms to look out for include eye discomfort, headaches, sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes, difficulty focusing, watery eyes, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, and increased sensitivity to light.’
To combat these common eye concerns Sappal advises people to:
Rest your eyes - Follow the 20:6:20 rule. Look up from your screen every 20 minutes and look at something 6 meters away for at least 20 seconds. Looking into the distance helps relax the focusing muscles of your eyes, which in turn reduces eye fatigue.
This rule is also important for parents who have children being schooled online at home. Monitor how much screen time they have each day and make sure that they have regular breaks.
Reduce glare - Reflections on your computer screen can cause glare and lead to eye strain. Try reducing this by attaching an anti-glare screen to your monitor, or covering windows to avoid external light shining onto the screen.
Go green - Incorporating the colour green into our home working environment is good for our eyes, brain and wellbeing.
Colour expert, author and influencer, Martha Roberts, explains: ‘Green has the reputation for being a colour of balance and tranquillity and because it sits in the centre of the colour spectrum it’s the easiest colour for us to see because our eyes don’t need to adjust to it, meaning it has relaxing, soothing and restorative properties.’
SYMPTOMS TO WATCH OUT FOR
While most eye conditions are minor, if you experience any of the following it’s important to get in touch with your local optometrist.
• Redness, pain or discomfort
• Blurred vision
• Flashes of light
• An increase in the number of visible floaters
• Sudden loss of vision
Although Specsavers is currently closed to business as usual, stores will continue to provide urgent support and advice to the public over the phone. To find contact details for your nearest stores visit, www.specsavers.es/stores
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FOODS
Look for foods online and in stores that are rich in eye-health boosting nutrients. Here are some great options to put into your basket -
• Spinach and kale, for example, are rich in Lutein, which is essential to functioning eyes.
• Oily fish such as salmon, is packed full of Omega3, which is great for overall health including the eyes.
• Kiwi gives a burst of A, B and C vitamins, which help maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eyes.
• Eggs have antioxidant properties which can reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration.
• Meanwhile, peppers contain zeaxanthin, which helps to absorb potentially damaging types of light.
It’s also good general health advice to keep your water bottle topped up, particularly when you are stuck indoors, as good hydration can help avoid dry eye. And of course, picking up good habits and cutting out the bad ones, like smoking, will also protect your eyes.