Since the start of Covid-19, American doctors have recorded an increase in the number of patients complaining of ophthalmological problems. Some people no longer dare to put on contact lenses to avoid any risk of contamination, others no longer bear their glasses which fog up because of the mask. Finally, many suffer from “dry eye syndrome” because of the time spent in front of screens and seek solutions to overcome this problem.
According to Neda Shamie, a corneal surgeon in Los Angeles, an increasing number of patients are considering correcting their vision with LASIK surgery, performed with a special laser. “Patients tell us that they are bothered by dry eyes after wearing contact lenses for a long time in front of a computer,” explains the practitioner.
Dry eye syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is common and occurs when an individual’s tears do not sufficiently moisten their eyes. Symptoms are usually felt in both eyes which can, for example, sting, burn, or become irritated.
When looking at a computer, television, or smartphone screen, the frequency of eye blinking can decrease by 66%, according to the University of Iowa. However, blinking less often can make them drier. The effect is even worse when the subject wears contact lenses.
With the increase in the number of people telecommuting, Mile Brujic, an optometrist, notices an increase in visual fatigue and dry eyes. According to him, “we were already in a society addicted to computers, but the pandemic has taken us to a higher level.”
In order to avoid the various symptoms associated with dry eye syndrome, Mile Brujic advises following the “20-20-20” rule. After 20 minutes in front of a screen, you would have to take a 20-minute break and look at something about 20 feet (6 meters) away from you to recalibrate your eyes.
Although tempting, this method may not be suitable for everyone’s schedule. Other techniques can be implemented, such as reducing the brightness of their screens or moisturizing their eyes with artificial tears. Eye drops also help relieve pain. However, if vision problems persist, it is advisable to consult a specialist.