Expert provides tips on how to avoid digital eye strain while working and learning from home

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) – Whether’s it’s on laptops, smart devices, or phones, experts say the coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on eye health due to working and learning from home.

Dr. Steven Rhee from the Hawaiian Eye Center says prolonged periods of time online can negatively affect eyesight.

“I’ve actually seen a lot of kids come in with dry eye complaints,” said Dr. Steven Rhee, an Ophthalmologist at the Hawaiian Eye Center. “Their eyes feel irritated, scratchy, sometimes even red. So that constellation of symptoms we call digital eye strain.”

Rhee says digital eye strain can come with discomfort and even cause long term headaches.

“If you’re constantly seeing things up close, whether reading a book or your screen, especially kids are vulnerable to this in the long run, they could develop nearsightedness.”

As far as accessories, Rhee says there are not enough studies to prove that blue light glasses actually protect the eyes from damage. However, children and adults can both utilize the 20, 20, 20 rule.

“Every 20 minutes of screen time, look away, like far in the distance. At least 20 feet for 20 seconds. So by doing that, you’re giving your eyes a break. You’re giving those focusing muscles a break.”

Getting outside as much as possible can also benefit eye health. For those experiencing blurry vision, a quick fix can be over-the-counter products.

“Use some lubricant eye drops to help. Make sure they say lubricant drops or artificial tears for dry eyes. You can use those throughout the day.”

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