With the Enhanced Community Quarantine extended until mid-May, we’ll have to stay indoors for a few more weeks until the curve flattens out. So what else is there to do but to stay glued to our screens?
Watching the latest COVID-19 updates, binging on Netflix K-Dramas, and playing video games — until we can leave our homes, phones and laptops are our only leisure.
Our eyes are bearing the brunt of this admittedly unhealthy habit. We already spend nine hours staring at the screen for work, but we finish the day (and spend the weekend) going on a YouTube spiral or watching TV. And though the screens help fight the itch of stepping out, your optical health is on the line.
During a time when we should be mindful of our well-being, our eyes deserve more attention than they ever did before.
Scale Back on the Screen time (Trust Us, It’s Doable)
It seems severe to cut back on screen time when there’s not much to do. But let’s do this for the sake of our eyes.
If you’re working from home, the time you spend in front of the laptop or PC can’t be scaled back. So let’s focus on your phone usage, which is much more negotiable. Set a limit for every app that you use every day —many free apps monitor and limit your phone usage.
Meals are Phone-Free
As much as possible, say “no” to a working lunch. This precious, screen-free hour is already a big help in preventing eye strain. Imagine, you’re using your eyes non-stop since 8 in the morning. Give it the rest it needs during lunch break or dinner time.
No Phones Before Bedtime
The hour before you sleep is a crucial point in screen usage; try not to look at your phone or laptop once you climb onto bed. Not only does this give your eyes more time to rest, but it also keeps your internal clock in the right rhythm.
Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
Too much screen time leads to eye strain. If you notice that your eyes are sore and dry, your vision is blurry, and your head aches, your body is telling you to ease up on the phone and give your eyes a breather.
There’s a neat trick that can prevent eye strain and soften the blow of a 9-6 screen-facing job — the 20-20-20 eye rule. Every 20 minutes, you look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And while you’re at it, try to stand up, move around, do a little stretching, and get the blood flowing on your limbs. It can be hard to keep track of the minutes when you’re in the zone, so install an app that will remind you to look away for a few seconds.
Keep Your Glasses as Clean as Your Hands
People now pay more attention to handwashing, with households hoarding soap and alcohol to keep their hands clean, in case they touch their nose, mouth, and eyes.
The catch is they overlook one sneaky culprit: the eyeglasses.
Your glasses spend more time near your eyes more than your hands do. Even if your hands are sparkling and spotless, dirty glasses can still harm your eyes. Granted, the lenses don’t touch the mucus of your eyeballs, but the proximity and frequency of use may still transfer harmful pathogens from the metal frames to your eyes.
Use your microfiber cloth (which usually comes with your glasses) to wipe off dust every day. Once in a while, use water and an eyewear cleaning solution to rinse off the dirt from the lenses and frames. If a specialized cleaning solution is not available, some recommend a gentle hand soap, detergent, or dishwashing liquid.
With our hospitals in full capacity, now is not a good time to acquire any sort of eye problem. And when your eyesight’s indispensable to your work, you’ll need them to survive the digital economy. So even if the spotlight is on respiratory health, don’t forget about your eyes.
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