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Inadequate blinking due to constant staring at screens causes eyes to become dry and tired very easily; experts advice ‘digital detox’ during the lockdown

Published: 15th April 2020 06:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th April 2020 10:08 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: In the backdrop of the extended lockdown, many people are now working from home, thus making digital consumption inevitable. However, an excessive screen-time may have severe impact on the eyes, and physical health, warn ophthalmologists.

Dr RR Sudhir, HoD of Preventive Ophthalmology at Shankara Nethralaya said, Dry eye syndrome, Visual Display Terminals Syndrome (VDTS), and refractive errors leading to early myopia could be the common repercussions of an excessive screen-time.

“Ideally, we are supposed to blink 20 to 30 times per minute for tear films in our eyes to secrete. Inadequate blinking due to constant staring at screens causes eyes to become dry and tired very easily,’’ he said, adding that it could also create stress in spasms, leading to difficulty in viewing far away things, in the longer run.

Dr Shweta Atheeshwar, MD of Medicare Eye Hospital said, impacts may vary from short term difficulties like irritation and itchy eyes, to a long term impact of extreme cases like cognitive impairment. “In adults, this (excessive screen-time) can lead to an early onset of reading difficulty (presbyopia) and sleep disturbances,’’ she said.

She added, it is necessary to have ambient light on while working on screen, and switching off all devices an hour before bedtime. “Lubricant eye drops are helpful when one can’t avoid long screen hours,’’ said Dr Shweta.

Dial down digitally

Mental health experts suggest this is the time to have a digital detox and spend it with one’s family. Dr Poorna Chandrika, Director of Institute of Mental Health said, the society has always spoken about ‘slowing down’, but now is the time to actually slow down. “The elderly would have always felt lonely. Now, they can guide youngsters to do productive things,’’ she said, adding that reading a book, painting, learning a new language and doing house chores could be a few alternatives. “People must restrict viewing television to one hour each in the morning and evening,’’ said Dr Poorna.


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