How Screen Time May Be Contributing To Dry Eyes During the Pandemic

The wave of “staying fit” has engulfed the whole world, isn’t it? And there’s always a question of whether or not we are considering the health of every organ in our body to fit into living healthy and staying fit category. If you haven’t got the hint yet, we’re giving you another one. We are blessed with senses in our body, which is one of the most important senses in our body? If you are thinking about vision or eyes, you’ve got it right alright! We make use of our eyes right from the time we wake up till the time shut them up and sleep in the night.  Therefore, we cannot deny the role that our eyes have got to play in our everyday lives. But, a majority of us are guilty of not taking care of them. Eye health is considered to be one of the most neglected health aspects of overall physical health according to doctors.

To make this negligence worse, the way we use screens every day in most activities of our life has affected our eyes most than any other organ of the body. Yes, we live in an era of smart devices and computers where even the smallest of the tasks has been made impossible without the use of technology. And our usage of devices like computers, televisions, laptops, e-readers, cell phones has literally increased in an exponential form at least in the past decade. This has resulted in letting our children be exposed to gadgets and screens at an age that is earlier than permitted. You wouldn’t believe what statistics tell you—among children under the age of 2, the electronic device usage has increased from 10% in 2011 to 38% in 2013. And if you look at stats of the same regarding children aged 8 years and below, in the year 2013, 72% of the children are into screens and gadgets which was only 38% in the year 2011. And in this wake of a situation like the pandemic where the novel coronavirus has struck every normal activity of our lives, the screen time is on a peak like never before. And why wouldn’t it? Everybody is working from home and if you have small kids at home, many just switch on the television put a cartoon on, and leave their kids there so that they wouldn’t be disturbed while working. And if you have school going kids or grown-ups—they are having their school online. Everybody is looking at the laptop or desk computers and having the experience of a virtual classroom through the screens. And adults, well, all the Netflix and chill which was reserved only for the weekend has now become an everyday routine. This pandemic has only multiplied screen time hours and made it worse for us. Everybody’s eyes of all ages have taken a hit, but the pediatric eye is the one that is susceptible to more damage as it’s still in the years of development and if indulged in excessive screen time, the results whether permanent or temporary can be dangerous to the eyes. And the problem of “Dry Eye” is very common here. Let’s understand more about this dry eye problem which has become a common term these days.

Dry Eyes

What Is Dry Eye?

It is a condition called dry eye syndrome wherein the tear ducts present in the eye don’t produce sufficient tears to keep the eye area lubricated. This condition of eye health can lead to dry eyes where the eyes aren’t able to produce the necessary layer of tears that surface the eyes and are essential for its normal functioning.

Well, about everyone does experience these dry eyes for a brief period in their life. This could be because of the environmental factors that engulf them like a humid climate or the lifestyle choices they make like staying glued to screen for the most of the day. And this dry eye syndrome can occur at any age.

What Can Cause Dry Eye?

You cannot zero in on a single uniform cause for a dry eye problem. However, aging is considered to be one of the main culprits in this area as it naturally decreases tear production. Additionally, if there is an over-reliance to staring at your device screens, it can also impact the eye health significantly. And staring at screens has become a very critical concern as the Covid-19 problem has forced many to stare at the computer monitors relentlessly for the endless video conferencing, online classes or presentations, binge-watching shows to drive away boredom, etc. Another main cause of dry eye syndrome is dehydration, if you aren’t drinking enough water, you’re eyes are going to dry up as your body doesn’t have enough water for your eyes to use and produce tears and lubricate the eye surface which is essential to keep all the dirt and foreign particles at bay. Here’s a list of the causes that you need to be aware of:

  • Environmental factors like low humidity, wind, sun exposure, chemical fumes, smoke, air conditioning, or even heat.
  • Skin diseases that occur in and around the eyes.
  • Chronic eye inflammation.
  • Hormonal changes that occur in women at the time of pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills usage, or during HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

What Are The Symptoms Of Dry Eye?

  • Burning or stinging in the eye.
  • Redness or pain in the eye.
  • Inability to cry.
  • Light sensitiveness.
  • Intervals of watery eyes that are followed by dry eyes.
  • Unusual mucus discharge.
  • Eye strain.
  • Heavy eyelids.

Natural Home Remedies To Heal Dry Eye Problems

  1. Use A Humidifier: As unhealthy environments are one of the main causes of dry eyes, placing a humidifier in your room will add moisture to the air in the room. This will prevent the water from your eyes to evaporate fast.
  2. Doing A Warm Compress: If you have any irritation in your eyes, you can stop that by doing a warm compress on your eyelids for a few minutes. The warm cloth’s moisture will activate the oil glands in your eyes which will instantly lubricate and keep your eyes safe from dryness.
  3. Adjusting Your Device Screens. It could be your computer or your phone, make it point to position the screens right at eye level or a little below the eye level but not more or less than that. Ensure that your screen’s brightness is also efficient. Looking away from the screens and blinking now and then will prevent your eyes from getting strained.
  4. Keep Cucumber Slices On Your Eyes: We’ve seen it in the parlors or salons that doing this is like pampering the eyes. Keeping cucumbers on your eyes will reduce the swelling of the eyes, hydrate them, and also unclog the glands.
  5. Increase Your Omega-3s: Eating foods that are rich in Omega-3s will help fight eye inflammation.

The best way to steer clear of dry eye problems is to drink plenty of water. Hydration is a common key to overall good health and proper functioning of the body. If you develop any of the symptoms of a dry eye syndrome, then you should consult a doctor and treat it immediately. Try and regulate your screen time during this pandemic.


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