Watch Out: Expert tells you how to take care of your eyes while working from home; EXCLUSIVE
If you aren’t a fan of work from home, you might brace yourself for some disappointment as the rising COVID cases and Omicron scare may leave you cooped up in your home, at least for a few days, if not weeks.
While PJs, unlimited coffee breaks and a cosy workplace are definitely some of the perks of working from home, strained eyes are a con that is hard to let go of.
Extended work hours and increased screen time mean more stress on the eyes. And no matter how hard you try, you will end up with tired eyes at the end of the day.
Dr Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre, New Delhi, says since working from home in most cases involves a higher screen time, people should maintain a balance in terms of time between focusing on their screens and taking their eyes away from the screen.
“Continuously staring at the screen for long hours is definitely not advisable. In fact, periodic breaks must be taken. One should keep the computer or the laptop one is working on at a reasonable distance and at a comfortable angle. Also, the laptop should be placed in a well-lit indoor space. At the same time, one should adjust the brightness and the contrast of the screen for a comfortable screen viewing while ruling out glare etc. Being indoors also means that people are experiencing less natural daylight. So, one should allow sufficient natural light indoors,” advises Grover.
Not to mention, this alone isn’t enough. So, just like your body, your eyes may need exercise too. “While there are many exercises such as focusing on a certain point and looking away and repeating it, probably the most effective and important one is the 20-20-20 exercise. In this, every 20 minutes, a person using a screen should look about 20 feet away for at least twenty seconds. This breaks the cycle of constant near work which is responsible for strains, headaches and provides rest to the eyes. One should also try to blink as much as possible while using the screen,” Grover tells you.
Moreover, it is important to understand that a healthy eye resides in a healthy body, and a well-balanced nutritious diet is beneficial not just for the body, but also for our eyes. Some of the food items important for eye health include carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, strawberries, almonds, fish, beans and leafy vegetables, Grover suggests.
Apart from eating a balanced diet, Grover says, a few other ways to keep eyes healthy are: Avoid smoking, wear proper glasses or lenses as prescribed by a doctor, give eyes enough rest and most importantly, stay in touch with a doctor.
“An annual eye examination can help detect any hidden conditions which can be arrested in their early stages using timely treatment,” adds Grover.
Considering the long hours of screen usage, it is even more important in children to ensure frequent breaks, good visual habits as well as good dietary habits and hydration, Grover insists.
One of the major eye problems that people while working from home are facing is dry eyes. “Dry eyes is becoming increasingly common in the current scenario of work-from-home and excessive screen usage. First, it is important to consult an ophthalmologist to ensure the disease and associated conditions can be appropriately managed using lubricant drops and other medication. Second, it is important to do warm compresses as it helps improve the quality of tears and provides tremendous relief in the long term. Third, it is important to wear prescription glasses during screen usage and take frequent breaks. Fourth, it is important to maintain good hydration by drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day,” explains Grover.
Humidifiers and air purifiers help as well and should be used if possible, he adds.