Prior to COVID-19, we were already living in a largely digital world – but with physical distancing, self-isolation and “stay-at-home” measures having been in place for the past few months to help reduce the spread of coronavirus, most of us are now glued to our screens more than ever before.
For many, screens have become the centrepiece of our work, our entertainment and our social lives. We have gone from dinners and backyard barbeques with friends, family and colleagues to scheduled online chats from behind a webcam and sanitised keyboard. Conference rooms and classrooms now exist through our computers, tablets and smartphones. More than a few of us have probably been horrified lately to see our iPhone’s weekly screen time report.
Dr. Erica Nielson (left) and Deanna Jones (right)
Over time, this fixation on screens can not only affect our mental and physical health, but the well-being of our eyes, as well.
That’s why Deanna Jones, brand ambassador and strategic communications specialist in Darthmouth, NS, reached out this week to her sister-in-law, Dr. Erica Nielson, an optometrist based in Truro, NS, to have a conversation about what we can do to keep our eyes healthy (and avoid touching them!) during these unusual times.
In this week’s installment of Wellness Wednesday, Dr. Nielson shares some valuable tips for “screen hygiene” and discusses the golden “20-20-20” rule for avoiding digital eye strain symptoms.
In the spirit of eye health, we’ve also moved away from our regular video format this week and are bringing you Wellness Wednesday in podcast-style. We encourage you to turn away from your devices as your listen to the audio interview below and give your eyes a much-needed break!
Did you know? May is Vision Health Month in Canada – a time to reflect on the importance of good vision in our everyday lives and the simple steps we can take to maintain it.
Don’t forget — an important part of wellness is connectivity and community.
During this difficult time, we encourage you to go on Yammer and connect with your team mates and other staff across the organization, using the hashtag #WellnessWednesday.
Share your own videos, photos or tips about what you’re doing to stay well while working from home — or bravely working on the frontlines – and help inspire and motivate others.
You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas for future Wellness Wednesday videos.
The 20-20-20 rule
The 20-20-20 rule is a tactic widely used to avoid digital eye strain symptoms.
The concept is simple: Every 20 minutes, look up from your screen and focus on an item approximately 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Focusing on an item in the distance allows our eye muscles to relax after being subjected to prolonged screen time. Of course, taking even longer periods of time away from screens in addition to these 20-second breaks is great for resting your eyes (and your mind)!
Tip: Kids can experience eye strain, too, so establishing the 20-20-20 rule for them during tablet time or video game play can help prepare them for a lifetime of screen use!