The main culprit behind the prevalence of dry eye since the start of the pandemic appears to be the extraordinary increase in people's screen time.
More people are curently spending much more time every day looking at digital devices – mobile phones, tablets, PCs, and TVs.
In response to the pandemic, families and friends have turned to the likes of WhatsApp, Zoom, and Facebook to enable social contact and reduce loneliness.
The uptake of online shopping has also soared during the pandemic. In the UK, the value of online purchases went up by about a quarter in 2020 compared to 2019.
It's not hard to see why the perceived benefits of online shopping have fuelled its meteoric rise. There's the convenience, the necessity when many high street shops have been closed, and the increased safety compared to visiting a store in person.
For many working people, their day has become completely orientated around their screen as meetings via Zoom have been the norm for communicating with work colleagues.
Some startling statistics about screen time
According to a recent poll taken in the UK, based on 2000 respondents:
- People spent more than 4,866 hours a year on average using gadgets such as phones, laptops and televisions. That’s the equivalent to spending 34 years of their lives staring at screens.
- It took less than 20 minutes for the average adult to look at a screen after waking up each day, with nearly one-third taking a glance within five minutes.
What have been the effects on our eyes?
Despite the benefits of digital devices for communicating with other people remotely, what has been overlooked is the effect on people’s eyes.
When you look at a screen, your eyes become fixated by it, and this leads to a reduction of up to two-thirds in your blink rate.
Because you blink much less, your eyes dry out more rapidly. Combine this with the drying effect of central heating, and more and more people are suffering from dry eye syndrome, even at a younger age.
In fact half of adults in the same survey complained that their eyes felt strained when they looked at screens too much.
Two proven self-help ways to relieve dry eyes
Moisture chamber glasses
Our Ziena Eyewear range of glasses is designed to help to relieve the symptoms of dry eye, enabling you to work and live more comfortably without having to use eye drops.
Ziena glasses look similar to normal spectacles with the addition of a soft translucent silicone gasket or eye cup that is clipped behind the rims of the glasses.
The eye cup provides a comfortable shield around the eye sockets that reduces the evaporation of your tears and keeps out the drying effects of room heating or air conditioning. This type of specialised eye wear is called moisture chamber glasses.
Ziena glasses can be worn by all age groups from teenagers to pensioners. The uptake of them by young adults is increasing all the time in response to the rapid growth in dry eye incidence amoung 18-35 year olds.
There is plenty of guidance on the Eyewear Accessories website that will help to narrow down your selection. The key to providing all the benefits is to find a style of glasses that fits you well, with a minimum of gaps around your eye sockets.
Since we started Eyewear Accessories back in 2009, we have provided our dry eye glasses to over 15,000 customers, across 56 different countries. That number indicates how genuinely beneficial our glasses can be.
Initially, few people were aware of the benefits of moisture chamber glasses, but word of mouth has gradually increased awareness so that consultants at many leading eye hospitals now recommend them to their patients.
Click this link to find out more about dry eye glasses for computer use.