Eye health in work-from-home era: Easy tips to reduce strain on eyes and vision

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Feb 12, 2022 05:35 PM IST

While work-from-home and the consequent increased screen time has many advantages amid the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown, there are downsides too with respect to our eye health. Check out these tips by doctors to ensure that your eyes get the moisture it needs

We all know that our eyes degenerate due to overuse or age hence, indulging in some eye exercises are crucial especially amid the current work-from-home situation since it could have unavoidable repercussions. The increased adoption of work-from-home routine has a cost element involved in terms of our eye health because as we spend more and more time on digital screens including laptops, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers and even television, our eyes have a disproportionately increased exposure time to these screens fraught with considerable adverse consequences.

Eye health in work-from-home era: Easy tips to reduce strain on eyes and vision (Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash)
Eye health in work-from-home era: Easy tips to reduce strain on eyes and vision (Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash)

Doctors alert that it could lead to eye strain or headaches, blurred vision or double vision, dry eyes or even neck and shoulder pain. Sometimes, it can even lead to disturbance in sleep patterns and difficulties in concentration apart from mental health conditions.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director at Orbis India, shared, "As we spend more time in front of the screen, our eyes and vision suffer. Blue light emitted by digital devices has the potential to damage sensitive cells in the retina's inner lining. It leads to early age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss. It is undeniably damaging to the eyes to spend too much time on digital devices."

Expressing similar concerns, Dr Rishi Bhardwaj, Head of Ophthalmology Department at Paras Hospitals in Gurugram said, “According to the various studies, the safe screen time for adults (above 16 years) is two hours per day but these days we hardly follow it. The more we stare at a screen, our eyes get dry and blinking rates get lowered. That results in the stress and strain in the eyes.”

He added, "More screen time means less physical activity and less exposure to green (natural green colour), which makes the eyes soothing. The lack of physical activity is also the leading cause of many life-style diseases including obesity, hypertension, diabetes and thyroid. All these diseases are related to our eyes as they affect our retina. More screen time also causes low vision and at times temporary blindness too which ranges from couple of minutes to hours."

Computer Vision Syndrome, the big eye problem

Highlighting Computer Vision Syndrome or Digital Eye Strain as one prominent eye problem, Dr Tushar Grover, Medical Director at Vision Eye Centre in New Delhi explained that the nature of demand on our eyes changes as compared to when we regularly read a printed page or write in the physical mode. “Apart from the movement of our eyes, the focusing and refocusing on a computer or other digital screens requires additional efforts on the part of the eye muscles and the vision system,” he said.

He pointed out that if we consider the glare, the contrast and the flicker of the screen, it becomes even more strenuous and uncomfortable for our eyes attempting to work on the screens. Dr Tushar Grover revealed, “While we are engrossed with our screens, we tend to blink less which leads to dry eyes with related consequences. People touching forty particularly have to exert more since their natural lenses become less flexible.”

Those wearing eyewear also have problems

According to Dr Tushar Grover, “While people with unaddressed or under-addressed vision issues will have more problems for obvious reasons, those wearing some eyewear such as eyeglasses and lenses also need to be equally careful. Screen use, particularly at home is often associated with improper posture and improper home lighting. The viewer is often forced to bend his head, not just aggravating discomfort to eyes but also causing back and neck pain.”


Dr Rishi Bhardwaj recommends, “It is essential to blink your eyes as much as you can while you’re using a digital platform. Blinking is the eye’s way of getting the moisture it needs on its surface. Stick a note to remind you about blinking.”

As for Dr Tushar, he advises reducing or ‘right-sizing’ the screen time as the first step followed by placing the computer or other screen in sufficiently lit space on a priority basis. He elaborated, “Adequate distance preferably at an arm’s length and at appropriate viewing angle between the individual and the screen must be maintained.”

Suggesting that glasses and lenses filtering blue rays and with UV protection should be taken recourse to, Dr Tushar asserted that one must observe the 20-20-20 rule meaning that every 20 minutes, a person using screen should look about 20 feet away for at least twenty seconds as this would give the eyes much-needed rest on a regular basis.


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