Caring for your eyes in COVID-19

Caring for your eyes in COVID-19

What first comes to mind when you think about your eyes in this extraordinary time of extended lockdowns and working or studying from home?

Blurred vision? Eye Fatigue? Dry eyes? Headaches? 

You may be suffering from digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

While it is close work, rather than screen use per se that strains our eyes, Dr Maturi, the clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a retina specialist, said that looking at bright devices can make us blink less, which leaves our eyes feeling dry. “When things are bright, we blink less. It’s behavioral. So we can train ourselves to blink more often and blink fully,” he said.

What can we do about it? Here are some tips:

1) 20-20-20 breaks: When engaging in near work activities (i.e., reading books or using digital devices), encourage regular breaks or use the 20-20-20 rule, i.e., look 20 feet (6 metres) away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.  Remember to stretch your arms, neck and legs during this break too! 

2) Optimal reading distance: Are you too close to the screen? A recommended viewing distance for your mobile phone, laptop and desktop is 40, 50 and 70cm respectively.

For kids, the Harmon distance is recommended where they should be sitting away from their reading object between their elbow upright and 3rd knuckle (~25cm).

3) Lighting: You need to ensure the environment in which you are using the screen is brightly lit, but not so glaring (e.g. with the sun shining on you) such that you can barely see the screen.  Use warm light for less glare.

4) Appropriate eyewear: Our eyes are not made for prolonged viewing at close distance.  You can consider different types of eyewear to improve vision comfort.  For example, blue light blocking glasses can reduce glare and reflection and block out the most harmful spectrum of blue light, to about 60% in the day and 30% at night , so you can experience visual comfort from day to night.  There are also special computer glasses with a power boost at the bottom of the lenses to relax your eyes with extended digital device and near vision usage.

Get your glasses here.

5) Adequate nutrition: We are what we eat. Food that are rich in antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, or support anti-inflammation such as omega3 and essential fatty acids are critical for good eye health. Think salmon, eggs, avocado, berries and leafy greens. Supplements are available for those who would benefit from additional boost: Vitamins For Dry Eyes, Vitamins for retina


3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Blue Light

3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Blue Light

What is Blue light?

Sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays. Each of these individual rays have their respective energies and wavelengths.

Source: Points de Vue

Blue light is a colour in the visible light spectrum that can be seen by the human eye.  Located at the beginning of the visible spectrum, it includes harmful blue-violet radiations (415-455 nm) as well as beneficial blue-turquoise radiations (465-495 nm), involved in normal metabolic functioning in humans.

Blue light is Everywhere!

Blue light is everywhere – it is not only present in sunlight, but also in artificial and man-made light.  Most notably, the backlit displays of digital devices such as smartphones, computers and electronic notebooks, which are now used very frequently by people of all ages, emit significant amounts of blue light.

Blue light can be both good and harmful

Being exposed to blue light in the daytime is crucial in the regulation of the circadian rhythm – the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. It also helps to boost alertness, aids memory and cognitive function and also elevates mood.

However, overexposure to blue light, especially late at night, has detrimental effects. Blue light emitted from smartphones and other digital devices can decrease contrast, leading to digital eye strain, leading to irritated or sore eyes, headaches, as well as difficulty focusing. Additionally, studies suggest that prolonged exposure to blue light over a period of time could lead to damaged retinal cells, which can increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Exposure to blue light right before sleeping at night also disrupts your natural sleep-wake cycle and hurts the quality of your sleep.

What can you do to protect your eyes from blue light?

In today’s digital age, prolonged usage of electronic devices is becoming a norm in our daily lives. Most people spend at least 12 hours a day consuming some form of media, yet it only takes as little as two hours in front of a screen to cause digital eye strain. Additionally, nearly 60% of people use their smartphones right before and after bed.

As prolonged exposure to blue light is close to unavoidable for many, the following are ways to reduce your exposure to harmful blue light:

1) Blue light filters 

A convenient, wallet-friendly and hassle-free way to reduce your blue light exposure while using electronic devices is to use blue light filters. These filters serve to prevent significant amounts of blue light from reaching your eyes without compromising on the visibility of the backlit display, and can be used for smartphones, tablets, and computer screens.

2) Blue light blocking/digital booster lenses 

Did you know that there are two types of lenses that have been developed to reduce blue light transmission to the eye?

  • Blue light blocking lenses

These lenses filter out blue light by blocking the transmission of a specific range of wavelengths and absorbing just the right amount of blue light. Blue light filters can either be built inside and incorporated into the lenses, or applied as an additional layer of coating on the lenses.

By blocking up to 50% of harmful blue light, our Signature Blue Light Protect lenses can help to protect your eyes without any colour distortions.

  • Digital boosters

In addition to filtering out blue light, digital boosters also relax our eyes in front of digital screens, reducing digital eye strain through an additional power zone which provides greater comfort and focusing support.

Essilor’s Crizal Eyezen™: Lenses for Digitally Connected People

Available in both prescription glasses and non-prescription glasses, Crizal Eyezen filters out harmful blue light and helps you to see more comfortably regardless of the size of screens (including the smaller ones) and the distance between the screen and your eyes. 

Source: Essilor SG

Essilor’s Crizal Eyezen™ boasts the following features:

  • Eyezen™ Focus provides extra focusing support with the additional power zone
  • Light Scan® filter out harmful blue violet light while letting beneficial blue turquoise light to pass through
  • W.A.V.E Technology™ provides sharp vision via fine tuned lens surface

3) Practise good eye health habits

Decrease the amount of time spent in front of these screens and take frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest by practising the 20-20-20 rule to relax your eyes. Maintain an appropriate distance between the digital screen and your eyes.

20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

In addition, put your phone away at least 30 minutes before you sleep to prevent your sleep quality from being negatively affected. The longer the time you disconnect from your electronic devices before you sleep,

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