Reduce Digital Fatigue with These Tips from Colorado Eye Doctors

As social distancing becomes a normal way of life during the COVID-19 pandemic many individuals are participating in increased screen time while technology becomes the hub for employees, social circles, students, teachers, families, and entire communities to stay connected. This increased screen time for many is an important part of life and staying healthy mentally and emotionally during the global pandemic, so Colorado’s optometrists have tips for you on how to take care of your eyes while staying connected, attending school, and working from home.

Potential Signs That Screen Time is Impacting Your Eyes

  • Increased headaches or migraines
  • Dry eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Eye strain

Colorado’s Optometrists Offer Tips for Keeping Eyes Healthy During Increased Screen Time:

  1. Observe the 20-20-20 Rule
    Adults and children should take frequent screen breaks by practicing the 20-20-20 rule. When using any screen, every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break, and look at something 20 feet away. To get in the habit of this, set a timer every 20 minutes for a few days as a reminder to use the 20-20-20 exercise.
  2. Take Blink Breaks
    Looking at a screen naturally has users blinking less and that can cause dry eyes, which can also cause a number of issues including blurry vision. When you take your 20-20-20 break be sure to take a few long blinks. This will help hydrate your eyes and reduce any discomfort from reduced blinking.
  3. Reduce Blue Light
    Blue light is linked to computer fatigue and eye strain. Colorado optometrists  recommend wearing glasses that filter out this light. If you’re unsure about finding true blue light glasses, you can contact your optometry office for recommendations.
  4. Buy an Alarm Clock
    Blue light suppresses our bodies production of melatonin. This is one of the chemicals that tells our body it is time to go to sleep. Eliminating nighttime phone use in your bedroom tends to nurture better sleep and it eliminates blue light exposure from looking at your phone during the night. It’s recommended that you use an alarm clock in your bedroom and keep your phone in another room or on customized “do not disturb settings” while being placed across the room.
  5. Establish a Screen Schedule
    During this time, we can’t get away from using screens, but it’s important to evaluate if there is any way to reduce screen time. Many families are finding that no screens after 8pm is a great rule to start winding down for bed and reducing stress. Begin looking at ways to reduce mindless social media scrolling and shift some of your entertainment choices to non-screen activities during certain times of the day or week.
  6. Check Your Vision
    If you’re experiencing more headaches, blurry vision or eye discomfort it’s a good idea to get a comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. This will ensure that your eyes are equipped with the correct prescription lenses/contacts and that any other vision issues are addressed. Stay away from online eye exams or vision screenings as they are not a reliable tool for the full picture of your eye health. Find a local optometrist here.

Colorado Optometrists Give Tips to Prevent Masks from Fogging Up Glasses

Many Coloradans who wear glasses for vision challenges have been struggling to properly wear masks in public due to their prescription glasses or sunglasses fogging up. The Colorado Optometric Association, 2020 Eyes Colorado and Colorado’s doctors of optometry have compiled the following solutions to make mask wearing easier. These tips will help you reduce or eliminate fogging and keep you from touching your mask and face when in public.

Now let’s talk about making mask wearing with glasses easier!

Using Medical Tape
Applying medical tape to the top of the mask across the nose and cheeks will significantly reduce fogging since the air flow will have to find a different path to exit the mask. This is great for use in public places when you don’t want to fidget with your mask or glasses, but it can irritate sensitive skin. If irritation occurs, individuals can try different types of medical tape or limiting using tape for a bi-weekly shopping trip or only in higher risk situations.

Washing Lenses with Dish Soap
This anti-fogging method has been used by surgeons, scuba divers, and now the general public. Immediately before wearing a mask, wash lenses with dish soap and then dry the lenses with a lens cloth. The soapy water leaves a thin film on the lenses that reduces surface tension and spreads water droplets evenly across the surface so the condensation is not visible. Be careful not to scratch the lenses when drying!

Putting Tissue Inside of the Mask
Simply use a tissue folded into a rectangle and tape inside of your mask across the bridge of your nose. This will act as a barrier to fogging glasses and the tissue also absorbs moisture build up inside the mask.

Why wear a mask? The CDC and Governor Polis recommend that the public wear cloth face masks in public settings in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19. Cloth masks can be made at home using household items or low-cost items and should be washed regularly. It’s important to note that individuals should not to touch their eyes, nose, and mouth when wearing or removing their face covering and wash hands immediately after removing. Masks should not be worn by children under 2 years of age. Learn more about face masks and view instructions on making them on the CDC website.

What to Do for an Eye Health Emergency During Covid-19

March 23, 2020 – If you experience an eye or vision emergency during the closures of the Covid-19 pandemic, you are urged to seek care through your optometrist. Many optometry offices remain open for essential and emergency care.

Colorado’s optometrists are taking steps to remain available for care for those patients needing urgent and/or essential care.  This will also be a great benefit to Colorado’s hospital emergency rooms, who are not in a position to treat eye emergencies at this time.

Many offices are able to address the following issues via tele-health or curbside pick-up:

  • Red Eye (aka: pink eye or conjunctivitis)
  • Broken Glasses
  • Contact Lens Refills (usually via mail)
  • Other Eye Emergencies
  • Other Essential Care Appointments

“We are open for emergencies and urgencies. An individual in need of eye care will call the office and we then triage to see if we can take care of them over the phone. If not, we have them come to the office, but the door is locked and we will let them in,” says Melissa Tada, OD of Mountain View Vision in Colorado Springs.

Each optometry office has different processes and circumstances so call your optometrist to see what level of care they are able to provide during this time. Try your best to stay out of the overloaded emergency care offices.

If you’re having an eye care emergency and need a new optometrist you can Find an Optometrist here.

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