A new Ofcom report has shown that people in the UK spend seven hours a day watching TV, surfing the net and using their mobile phones.
With the proliferation in modern technology and gadgets, from the introduction of Apple’s iPad to the 3D revolution in broadcast television, independent opticians are warning about the effects our obsession with hi-tech devices is having on our eyes.
Independent opticians point out that the humble computer, while still dominating our daily lives, is just one of the many devices now contributing to the increased possibility of developing short-sightedness.
Independent optician, Gavin Rebello of Patrick and Menzies Opticians, said: “A day spent working at a computer is often interrupted by texting a friend from your smartphone, followed by an evening spent playing a video game or soon watching your favourite programme on a 3D television.
“As each new technological device that enters the market becomes the must have accessory, everyday lives are being spent moving from one gadget to another, putting constant stress and strain on the eyes.”
Acknowledging the effects of the constant use of modern technology, the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign is encouraging people to visit their local optical practice for a regular eye test to identify any potential problems and seek advice about how best to manage the use of hi-tech gadgets to ensure pro-longed eye health.
Here are our top ten tips on how to protect your eyes while using gadgets:
1. Sit facing the screen directly and ensure that it’s not at an angle – this will stimulate both eyes equally.
2. Maintain a healthy diet: drink water, eat a balanced diet, including Omega 3s and green leafy vegetables.
3. Look away from the screen and shift eye focus to objects at a distance once every 15-30 minutes.
4. Install an anti-glare filter and use the settings on the screen to reduce the glare to a comfortable level. Consider changing the bright white default background setting, especially if you are a migraine sufferer. Your specialist independent optician can advise about visual stress.
5. Sit at a reasonable distance from the screen – if looking at a television screen you should sit at least six feet away. When playing on a computer, the screen ideally should be 20-26 inches from your eyes.
6. Look away from the screen and blink your eyes regularly to lubricate them.
7. Rub the palms of your hands together to warm them up, gently place palms over the eyes and hold for a few minutes. Do this every hour – the warmth of your palms will relax the eye muscles.
8. Get a local independent optician to check your vision and find out whether you need computer glasses. Contact lens wearers should consider switching to glasses if using screens for any length of time to avoid contact lenses drying out.
9. Ask your local independent optician to advise you on how to maintain a good tear film quality.
10. Use an EyeBag to relax and calm the eyes. These are available at many independent opticians.
To find out more about the Eye Love My Local Independent Optician campaign, visit www.eyelovelocal.co.uk where you can access tips and advice on taking care of your eyes and find your nearest participating practice.