Working from home causes rise in digital eye strain, says Mandurah optometrists

Specsavers Halls Head optometrist Carl Slabber said he has seen more clients have symptoms of digital eye strain since COVID-19 restrictions began. Photo: Supplied.
Specsavers Halls Head optometrist Carl Slabber said he has seen more clients have symptoms of digital eye strain since COVID-19 restrictions began. Photo: Supplied.

With many people working or studying from home during COVID-19 restrictions, Mandurah WA optometrists warned about the impacts of spending too much time on screens.

According to research conducted just prior to COVID-19 restrictions, a majority of Australian office workers experienced symptoms of digital eye strain, with nine out of 10 people claiming to have at least one symptom of digital eye strain while at work.

With more time spent at home the digital eye strain symptoms including dry eyes, blurred vision, difficulty focusing, sensitivity to light, eye fatigue, headaches and difficulty reading small print are expected to become more prominent.

Mandurah workers can expect to experience even more symptoms now as our new daily routines include a lot more screen time.

Specsavers Mandurah optometrist John Bockhoop

Specsavers Halls Head optometrist Carl Slabber said he had already seen an increase in clients with digital eye strain.

"Even before COVID-19 we found that a majority of office workers had symptoms but now it has definitely increased," he said.

"We are finding more and more people are coming in with these type of complaints now.

"It definitely impacts younger people more but even the older patients' eyes are becoming more strained because they are on their screens more than usual."

Specsavers Mandurah optometrist John Bockhoop said digital eye strain is expected to become more prominent with more people on screens for longer during COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Supplied.

Specsavers Mandurah optometrist John Bockhoop said digital eye strain is expected to become more prominent with more people on screens for longer during COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: Supplied.

Specsavers Mandurah optometrist John Bockhoop echoed this view as he said due to isolation people are spending up to 10 hours or more on screens a day.

"If most Mandurah workers were experiencing frequent symptoms of digital eye strain before COVID-19, they can expect to experience even more symptoms now as our new daily routines include a lot more screen time," he said.

"If you're going from remote working or studying to a Zoom hangout with friends or family, to a marathon session of Netflix, your overall time spent in front of a screen may add up to 10 hours or more a day.

"Our eyes aren't meant to be fixed on a single object that long and it's likely to have a negative effect on our eye health."

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To combat digital eye strain, Mr Slabber outlined a number of prevention methods.

"It is easy to lose track of time when you're on a screen so the big thing is to take frequent breaks," he said.

"Every 20 minutes or so look 20 metres away for at least 20 seconds.

"Also your blink rate should normally be 15 times a minute but we have seen this drop by 50 per cent when someone is focused on a screen so remember to blink often.

"Remember to also drink water, adjust your brightness levels, cut out glare from windows, make sure your laptop is an arms length away, and have your screen slightly below eye level."

This story Working from home causes rise in digital eye strain, says optometrists first appeared on Mandurah Mail.