Are we looking at ‘Lockdown Eye’?

Ergonomics

A female sitting at a laptop, holding glasses and pinching the bridge of her nose. Representing eye strain / fatigue

A recent survey by Fight for Sight of 2,000 people in the UK has found that half of people’s screen time has increased since the COVID pandemic began. Of the people surveyed, 38% believed their eyesight had been affected as a result of the increased screen use. This has led to difficulty reading, migraines and poorer night vision.

Could ‘Lockdown Eye’ be a thing?

Since many face-to-face activities like meetings, training, and socialising aren’t taking place during the pandemic, it’s not surprising that we’re all spending more time using computers, smart phones, laptops or tablet screens for longer, but currently there isn’t enough research to conclusively confirm that increased screen time leads to deteriorating sight.

What we do know, is that staring at a screen, smart phone, laptop, or tablet screen can cause what we refer to as ‘digital eye’ – sore, itchy, or tired eyes, headaches, impaired colour perception and temporary blurring, particularly if they are used continuously for long periods of time, if there are reflections on the screen, if the characters are too small, or if there is inadequate contrast.

What can you do for employees who have eye discomfort?

  • A yellow light bulb on background of blue question marksbCarry out a workstation assessment to identify any issues which might be contributing, such as glare and reflections falling on their screen or poor posture which might be leading to tension headaches.
  • Make sure employees are sticking to their usual working hours. If your employees are currently working at home, its all too easy to start work earlier and finish later, which can add hours to screen use time.
  • Remind employees of your eye care process. Opticians remain open during the pandemic if an eye test is needed.
  • Support employees with breaking up long periods of screen use, such as scheduling breaks during long online meetings or training sessions and encouraging them to take lunch away from computers and smart phones.
small image of eye health infographic Download and share our Eye Health infographic which has 5 top tips to help maintain visual health and can help avoid ‘digital eye’.

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