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Tips from an optometrist to promote eye health awareness this JulEYE 2021

July 16, 2021

JulEYE is National Eye Health Awareness Month and aims to raise community awareness around eye health issues.

With increased screen time becoming the norm during the pandemic, the risk of eye-related issues such as eye strain has also increased.

In support of JulEYE, Guide Dogs spoke with Gonzalo Jacome, a Senior Staff Optometrist at the Centre for Eye Health about his recommendations for maintaining good eye health while using a screen.

  • 1. Recognise the signs and symptoms of eye strain: blurry vision, squinting, soreness in your eyes, or a headache.

Especially with our current situation where many of us are working from home, we’re using devices more than ever before. The first symptom of eye strain you might notice is blurred vision. It can be subtle, like the computer screen going slightly out of focus, or you might catch yourself squinting. Another symptom to look out for is soreness or discomfort in and around your eyes. This can turn into a headache which lingers long after you’ve shut down your laptop or put away your phone.

  • 2. Adjust your computer settings to enhance magnification, improve contrast, and reduce glare.

You can do this by changing the font size, the font types, the brightness settings, the resolution. As a general rule of thumb, your eyes prefer reading large black text on a white background or vice versa, and your display brightness should match the surrounding level of light.

It’s also important to make sure that your computer screen is roughly an arm’s length away if you’re using a desktop, or elbow length away if you’re using a laptop. These are the distances where your eyes usually work optimally.

If you’re meant to wear spectacles, wear them! If you’re struggling with those spectacles, it might be time to see your optometrist.

  • 3. Take regular breaks.

Your eyes are just like any part of your body; the harder you work them, the more fatigue they’re going to experience, and the more strife they’re going to give you. Gonzalo advises implementing the 20/20 rule, which means that after 20 minutes of computer use, it’s important to look away from your computer screen at an object that’s at least two or three metres away – and focus on that object for about 20 seconds to give your eyes a break.

  • 4. Be aware of dry eye.

When we’re staring at close-up objects, like our phones or computers, we tend to blink less often which can lead to dry eye. That means that our eyes are less likely to get enough tears to lubricate them. If your eyes start to feel a little bit gritty, or if you experience any burning, or stinging, try some eye drops to provide your eyes with the extra moisture that they require.

Remember, it is always best to consult your optometrist for individual eye health advice.

Please share this article to raise awareness about the importance of eye health this JulEYE.