PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Eye doctors said more screen time during the pandemic may be hurting eye health, as more people logged on for school or work.
“The pandemic has taken a toll on all of us for so many reasons, and our eyes have taken a brunt of it as well,” said Dr. Tim Cundiff, an optometrist at Vision Care Center in Peoria.
Dr. Nicole Jensen at Bard Optical said screen time is becoming an epidemic, especially among kids.
“Our eyes are never meant to do the computer work we do these days,” said Jensen.
There are ways to help while staying connected. Cundiff recommends taking regular breaks.
“The rule that we promote is the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes of screen time, you should pause for 20 seconds, and look at something 20 feet away,” said Cundiff.
He said it cuts down on eye strain. Dr. Yannis Kolettis at Illinois Eye Center said people can also use eye drops.
“Use them a few times a day, they’re very safe,” said Kolettis. “Just like you would for dry hands during the dead of winter, doing that for your eyes can also give some relief.”
He also recommends regular eye exams, even if you’re not noticing problems.
“Certain conditions can start doing things to the eyes, even earlier, and may not cause symptoms that are bothersome,” said Kolettis.
In Illinois, eye exams are required for kindergarteners.
“Kids sometimes have no idea they’re having vision problems,” said Jensen.
She said parents should limit kids to two hours of screen time and said it is better to watch content from further away.
“Always have it be on a TV versus a tablet because it’s easier on their developing eyes and muscles too,” said Jensen.
She also said kids as young as six months can get eye exams if needed.