Prevent eye strain by following the 20-20-20 rule.
This was the advice of eye doctors on Thursday as several people are now engaging in virtual settings to attend to their work or classes due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology President Dr. Ma. Margarita Lat-Luna said that people may develop tired or dry eyes due to continuing exposure to gadgets for a long period of time.
“In the past, we used these gadgets as part of our work but now even our socializing is conducted in front of a computer,” said Luna during a virtual forum.
“So we expect more eye symptoms related to spending considerable time in front of screens such as dry eyes, itchy eyes, burning sensation, tiredness, headache, or even blurred vision,” she added.
This was also seconded by Dr. Leo Cubillan, director of the Philippine Eye Research Institute.
“When you are on your computer for a long time, you are actually not blinking because you are focusing on the computer so it will cause dryness in the eye and other associated symptoms like itchiness—and people also develop headaches,” said Cubillan.
In order to prevent digital eye strain, the doctors said that the public should do the 20-20-20 rule.
“Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Rest your eyes for 20 seconds by every 20 minutes by looking at an object 20 feet away,” said Luna.
“Once you’ve been reading for 20 minutes already then stop. Look 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds just to break being that focus at a very near distance to prevent nearsightedness,” she furthered.
Luna also advised the public to not rub their eyes “no matter how itchy they are.”
Aside from the 20-20-20 rule, Luna said that it is also important to observe the following:
· Proper posture: make sure that your computer is at eye level and you are seated properly.
· Bigger font size: Adjust the font (of your computer) to a comfortable size.
· Not too close: Make sure your computers or phones are 18 to 24 inches away from your eyes.
· Screen brightness: Adjust the screen brightness to a comfortable level.
· Blink regularly: Don’t forget to blink. Blinking replenishes our tears and prevents eye dryness.
· No fans on face: Avoid direct wind from a fan or air conditioner as this may also cause dry eyes.
It is also important to visit an eye doctor at least once a year despite the current health situation.
“Go to an ophthalmologist at least once a year especially if you are already 40 years old or older and if you are diabetic or if you have a family history of glaucoma, whatever your age, please have a complete eye examination,” she said.