Screens, masks and eye problems: Optometrists seeing pandemic related vision woes
With many people working from home and students doing remote learning, doctors said they’re seeing a lot of patients with worsening vision. Masks may also be a contributing factor.
Albuquerque optometrist Robert Melendez told sister station KOAT-TV that many kids and parents are overusing their electronic devices.
“I’m hearing a lot more complaints with people’s eyes. Fogged up glasses, they’re frustrated by that — burning, stinging, which is consistent with dry eyes,” he said. “And if you’re focused too long on the computer for instance, that’s going to dry your eyes out and that’s going to cause blurred vision.”
The way people are wearing their masks can also impact the dryness of eyes.
“Because we have to wear our face which is very important, the increased airflow that’s moving from the top of the mask, it’s actually hitting the surface of the eyes causing the eyes to dry out,” said Melendez.
So what should you do if you’re experiencing eye problems?
“Take some frequent breaks, every 20 minutes that you’re on a computer,” Melendez said. “Take a break, look out to distance for about 20 seconds. You can buy some artificial tears over the counter.”
Melendez said you should avoid eye drops that say “redness relief,” such as Visine or Clear Eyes. He also said when wearing a mask people should make sure it fits properly.
“Make sure the mask is actually sealed on the top of the nose, so it will minimize the amount of excessive airflow, that’s leaving that mask,” he said.
Melendez said taking those annual eye exams are also important to keep up with.
“If you have a family history of disease then you should go in sooner,” he said.
If you find your child rubbing their eyes more that may be a sign that they have dry eyes or need glasses. Of course, if it’s an emergency, you should contact 911.