Dry eyes? Too much screen time could be the culprit. Here are some tips for cutting back on screen time and protecting your eyes this winter.

Dry eye is a multi-faceted condition with many causes, but an increase in screen time is a growing issue and contributing factor.

There’s nothing like relaxing in front of our favourite TV shows and movies at the end of the day – but it’s important to protect your eyes, too.

Screen time and dry eye

Did you know when you stare at a screen, you blink less frequently than usual?

Blinking serves the very important purpose of cleaning the eye. It flushes fresh tears over the surface of the eye, refreshing it with helpful nutrients and keeping the eye moist and healthy. Blinking also clears away dust and debris, which helps to prevent infection.

When you don’t blink enough, your eyes may begin to feel scratchy, dry, and tired.

Dry eye symptoms

Here are the main symptoms to look out for:

Redness

Soreness

Scratchiness

Stinging

Burning

Excessive tearing up

The feeling of heavy eyelids

Uncomfortable contact lenses

Blurry vision

Fortunately, dry eye syndrome is usually more of an uncomfortable feeling than a serious health concern.

However, it’s still important to identify it early and treat it quickly (or avoid it altogether) to minimise the risk of infection or eye strain.

How to avoid and treat dry eye syndrome

One of the best ways to avoid dry eye syndrome is to spend less time staring at screens.

Easy ways to reduce your screen time

Be mindful at work. Set an alarm to remind yourself to look away from your screen once an hour. Take a quick bathroom break, turn your chair around and chat to coworkers, or do a few stretches with your eyes closed. You can also get out for a quick walk around the block for some fresh air and a break from the screen.

Try other forms of entertainment. Instead of automatically reaching for the television remote, consider listening to podcasts, music, the radio, or audiobooks for entertainment. Or simply pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read.

Host a games night. Invite some friends over for board games and music.

Don’t forget your phone time. Use an app such as Moment to track and limit the time you spend on your smartphone. It’s easy to mindlessly scroll, so setting limits can help to break the habit.

How to treat dry eye when it strikes

Despite the best precautions, you might still develop dry eye syndrome – especially if you work in front of a screen all day.

Here are some treatment tips to have up your sleeve for when you next experience uncomfortable symptoms.

Blink more. Try to remind yourself to blink more often. Perhaps make a habit of blinking every time you finish reading a sentence.

Consider a humidifier. A humidifier can alleviate dryness in the atmosphere.

Try eye drops or products. From eye drops that lubricate the eyes to soothing wipes that offer gentle cleansing for everyday use, there are plenty of options at your local pharmacy.

Try HYLO®-Fresh. HYLO®-Fresh is an eye drop product designed specifically to lubricate the eyes. It is free of preservatives, compatible with contact lenses, and ideal for moderate to mild cases of dry eye.

Always talk to your GP if unsure

If you’re still having issues, see your doctor or eye specialist, as they can run specific dry eye diagnostic tests to find the root of the problem and provide treatment.

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Disclamer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not substitute advice from your healthcare professional. If symptoms persist or you require specialist advice, please consult your healthcare professional.

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Wellbeing

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