In this challenging time, digital footprints are increasing. Digital communication has become more popular and smartphones, laptops and tablets are used more often. Technology is the reason why we are able to continue our work from home or our children are able to thrive and learn. As everything is in complete lockdown, we stay entertained and connected with the friends and the family through phones. Unfortunately, we are using mobile phones all the time and as a result, our eyes bear the brunt of this extended screen time.

Extended screen time can affect eyes, both in children and adults. This effect could be short-term, medium-term or long-term. In children, it could be habit-forming which leads to reduction in attention span, lowers socializing behavior and impairs sleep patterns.

Short term side effects are eye strain, discomfort, redness, dryness and frequent blinking of eyes. Medium and long term side effects includes affecting children’s eyes, increase in the size of an eyeball, myopia, requiring spectacles. However, short term side effects are temporary and reversible and do not cause any permanent affect to eyes.

There are some simple tips which are very simple to follow while using gadgets for prolonged periods of time.

  • The larger the screen, the lesser the eye strain. So, working or attending online school lessons on a laptop or desktop is preferable. It is ideal to reduce the brightness and increase the font size on a laptop or desktop. So you must remember that while working on laptop or desktop you shouldn’t give stress to your eyes.
  • While working on laptop or desktop, the screen should be at least 25-30 inches away from the eyes and 15-20 degrees below eye level i.e. around 4-5 inches below the eyes. Also, the computer screen should be placed away from windows or above from lighting to avoid glare. Using anti-glare screens or spectacles with anti-reflective lens will also help minimize glare.
  • Continuous use of laptop screen should be avoided as blink rate reduces with concentrated work on gadgets. It is important to blink your eyes while looking at the screen. It is also important to take regular breaks. For children, preferably a 30-40 minute online class should have a 10-15 minute break before the next class starts.
  • A golden thumb rule which can be followed is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break from the screen for 20 seconds and look at something which is 20-30 feet away.