We’ve all experienced dry eye – it could be because of the cold, or because of a new set of contacts we just got, or it could be because of that screen you’ve been staring at in your palms all day.
That tingly sensation in your eye.
Did you know we blink approximately 12,000 times a day? That’s 4,200,000 times a year! But who’s counting, right?
The reason why it’s an instinctive reaction for your eye to blink every now and then is because of the body’s response to keep your eyes lubricated. When we use our phones and stare at our screens however, our rate of blinking decreases and sometimes we even forget to blink. We actually blink up to 66% less when we focus our eyes on the screen for prolonged periods of time. That’s what causes an eye condition called dry eye. Other symptoms of dry eye include:
- Eye fatigue
- Sensitivity to light
- Eye redness
- A stinging/scratchy sensation in your eyes
A digital necessity, but a pain in the eye.
We live in an era where digital devices are a necessity – almost as necessary as food, water, and oxygen. For our children, they’re growing up alongside some major technical advancements – Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, you name it and they probably heard of it way before you did. So it’s just as important for them to keep their eyes in check every time they pick up a new device in their hands. If you or your little one are constantly using smart devices, here are 3 surefire eye care tips to combat dry eye:
1. Artificial tears
Over-the-counter remedies like artificial tears can help lubricate your eyes after an intense day of staring at the screen. As a working adult myself, I’ve experienced the intense discomfort of having to sit through dry eye and using artificial tear drops have helped to provide a quick relief from that burning sensation in my eyes.
2. The natural remedy
Who doesn’t love an au naturel cure? Artificial tears are great for temporary relief, but you need to use them more frequently in order to completely get rid of the discomfort in your eyes. One of the best natural remedies to dry eye is a warm compress over your eyes. Simply pour some warm water over a cloth, wring the excess water out, and place said cloth over your eyes for 20 minutes. It’s a terrific way to relax your eyes and take a quick cat nap while you’re at it. You could even jazz it up and drop some essential oils on to the towel for a calming scent – are we feeling lavender today?
3. Eye breaks
The best eye care tip to combat dry eye though is well within your own power – and that’s to take frequent eye breaks. After 30 minutes of staring at the screen, you should take an eye break for 2 minutes, minimally. If you notice your child spending prolonged periods of time staring at the screen, use an app to take control of their screen time.
The plano app reminds your child to take a device break every 30 minutes he/she spends on the screen. For about a minute and a half, your child will be unable to use his/her phone and he/she has to take a break from the screens. The half-hourly break reminders serve to create a habit of device breaks. This way, your child will be able to learn the right device habits to not only minimise his/her screen time, but also safeguard his/her eyes from dry eye, eye strain, and even myopia.
The eye of the storm
We’re all caught in the eye of a digital storm that’s not going away any time soon. Our devices are important mainstays in our daily lives, but it’s just as crucial that we manage our time spent on them and safeguard our vision health. For we control technology, and not the other way round.