COVID causing extra eye strain

Posted at 7:25 AM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 07:25:55-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla -- A Southwest Florida eye doctor said she’s seeing more patients amid the pandemic because of the added screen time that comes with working and learning from home.

Fox 4 spoke with Dr. Yasaira Rodriguez with Elmquist Eye Group to share some advice to help with what doctors are calling Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome.

One of the easiest pieces of advice she shared was to make sure you're always sitting about 25 inches away from your screen. She said a good frame of reference is to make sure that you're arm's length away.

Since the pandemic began, Dr. Rodriguez said she's seen an increase in younger patients coming in with eye problems. That’s as more people are working and learning from home.

The symptoms of Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome include headaches, blurry vision, eye strain and even neck and shoulder problems.

Dr. Rodriguez said they're all due to prolonged use of computer devices. She pointed to national data that shows we've gone from about four to six hours of screen time a day to 12 hours amid the pandemic.

“In some cases, we have to design special computer glasses for them to use. Even if they don't need them for other tasks, they still benefit from computer glasses just because we are spending so much time in front of the computer,” said Dr. Rodriguez.

Compared to 2018, Dr. Rodriguez said 2020 tripled the sales of glasses with Eyezen and Crizal advanced technology lenses designed to improve digital eyestrain and filter blue-violet light.

She shared more advice on what you can try at home right now. She said to think about the lighting in the room where you're working and try to avoid glare. Also, follow the 20/20 rule. That means every 20 minutes, try to take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet or more away. She also said to clean off any smudges or fingerprints on your screen. They're distractions that can cause you to use strain to try to see past.