• Jessica Gonzales

Maintain eye health through virtual classes

In 2020, the amount of time spent on a digital screen increased due to the global pandemic that has impacted the lives of many. COVID-19 has caused many things to move into the virtual world to keep people safe, whether it be for a job or for school.

College students not only have classes online, but they also do homework online, go to virtual meetings, and use their phones for personal reasons. According to a study by Bahkir and Grandee for the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, daily device usage increased by five hours after the lockdown occurred, with students making up half of the sample size. Students have been dealing with increased screen time about a year, and this may cause adverse effects to one’s health.

Prolonged exposure of screen time has been found to increase the effects of headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, sensitivity to light, itching, myopia, excessive blinking, and eye pain. This does not only affect individuals who wear contacts; a study published by Contact Lens & Anterior Eye found that digital eye fatigue can occur in people who wear soft contacts as well as those who do not wear contacts.

These symptoms may not sound very severe to some, but it can feel different to others. It is not only the eyes that are affected through increased screen time, but it may be that sleep and dietary habits are affected as well, according to a study published in BMC Public Health.

Prolonged screen time cannot be helped when someone is a nursing student, for example, with hours of lengthy lectures and assignments to do. Chewing gum is one way to help prevent eye fatigue. A study published by BioMed Research International found that “chewing gum can help reduce eye strain and helps the eye focus.”

Other ways to ensure good eye care include forcefully blinking, using blue light glasses, taking a break from the screen after 20 minutes, focusing on distant objects, and using artificial-free eye drops.

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