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Sore eyes, headaches and blurry vision: How lockdown has ruined our eyesight (and how to rectify it)



Is your eyesight worse since lockdown began? Thanks to hours spent staring at Zoom and losing chunks of sleep (hello, 3am overthink), my eyes have definitely been feeling the strain.

And interestingly I’m not the only one, with leading online glasses retailer, Glasses Direct discovering 1 in 5 Brits believe their vision declined during lockdown.

Their Vision Survey coincides with this week (19th- 27th September) being National Eye Health Week, and it was also found that women are suffering the most; from 28% of those asked battling tired and sore eyes, to 24% experiencing headaches. Tick, tick. Not to mention, 28% of participants having trouble falling asleep, most likely making these niggles a vicious cycle.

By coincidence I found myself at the opticians for the first time in way too long today. My main issues being dry, tired eyes and a headache from scrolling Insta while simultaneously replying to emails.

Optician and Head of Professional Services at Glasses Direct, David Hutchfield explains, “It is no surprise that screen time has increased during the pandemic, whether it is working from home in front of a laptop all day, reconnecting with friends and family on video calls, or binging boxsets on Netflix. This increased screen time, and the added stresses of lockdown, has inevitably taken its toll on people’s eye health.”

Obvs there’s no way we’re giving up Netflix, so what would help?

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David reckons there are simple steps to take, keeping our eyes in tip top condition and preventing side effects like those aforementioned-dry itchy eyes, headaches and blurry vision. As well as taking a break from screens when possible and trying to get a good night’s sleep, he recommends specialist digital blue light lenses.

Protecting your eyes from UV rays with good quality sunglasses is another eye health priority. A pair that blocks out at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays will protect your eyes from any sun exposure, which can both accelerate eye ageing and be a contributing factor in cataracts.

One practical tip for minimising screen time strain is the 20/20/20 technique (in 2020, we know). Every 20 minutes look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to help relax your eyes. It’ll give your eyes a mini break from concentrating and in turn, ease the eyesight tension causing headaches or blurred vision.

To be honest, we’re up for anything that’ll tackle our Zoom fatigue.

Dry eyes can be the result of a few things, including not drinking enough water, lack of fresh air and not giving your eyes enough of a rest to rehydrate. Guilty as charged. A good night’s sleep does wonders for the whole body, but also helps to give your eyes a break, keeping them hydrated. Or failing that, some eye drops. Feeling refreshed prevents those annoying tired twitches too. Which let’s face it, is a very weird sensation.

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I left my appointment today, armed with a new prescription and hoping to shift the headaches asap. As well as feeling slightly ashamed I’d left it so long. Trialling and ordering glasses online my next step- because juggling stickered frames and a facemask is a complete faff- I’m planning some digital blue light lenses to counteract my excessive screen time.

Next step, upping that water intake and getting an early night.



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