Digital eye ID, Bausch+Lomb


bit of self-help is to keep to the four 20s

rule. You're meant to look 20ft away for

20 seconds every 20 minutes AND blink

20 times.

Psychologist Chireal Shallow notes

how our behaviour have changed with our

changing use of digital media. She says,

"As many as a third of us now uses our

screens for nine hours or more every day.

Children use devises even more than that.

Don't look now, but 74% of us check our

phones at least once an hour and 52%

every 30 minutes. It's almost an addictive

behaviour. Mobile phones are certainly not

used to talk much any more. We use them

for emails and texts, or photos. People

prefer texting to talking. Then we meet up

with our friends and spend half the time

on our phones, even if we're sharing a

meal together."

A direct link has come from increased

screen-time and it's a reduced attention

span. And we get separation anxiety if

we're parted from our screens for any

duration. Shallow says, "Oddly, social

media makes us feel connected and part

of a community, then it makes us feel like

we're not having as much fun as other

people. Social media is warping our lives.

We edit so only the good bits are put up

there to be seen. To show ourselves in a

better light."

Swallow admits to taking selfies,

but she says it's because "I don't trust

anyone else to take a good pic of me; I

like to decide what gets put up there!"But

she points out that phones in particular

are a new form of societal stress, if you

lose your phone or it runs out of juice, or

it's taken away from you. Shallow says,

"We have rules at home. No phones at

mealtimes, and no phones at bedtime. It's

how our family works. It's good to have

boundaries. As many as 25% of us check

our emails while we're on holiday, and a

third of us check emails first thing in the

morning. Psychology is very important,

both at work and at play. Stress levels in

society are increasing because it's hard to

unwind, to switch off, but we all should

try to."

New vision

Bausch+Lomb suggests that you check

for the signs of digital eye strain with their

BETH test (with a nod to the Queen's

recent birthday), BETH stands for Blurred

vision, Eye irritation, Tired eyes, Headache.

Bausch+Lomb has been in business

for 160 years with both vision products

(glasses and lenses, did you know they

introduced the Ray-Ban range?) as well

as vision pharma products, such as eye

drops. The company sponsored the

research that gave the statistics quoted

in this article.

David Shannon, optometrist at

WINK and former chairman of the

Association of Optometrists speaking

of their new Ultra contact lenses with

MoistureSeal technology, explains that

work environments are often hostile for

eyes, due to the use of central heating

and computers. However, he says, "For

people who want to use contact lenses

these are soft but give high oxygen

transmission with high water content

locked in to the lens. The cornea (front

of the eye) needs to be wet as does

the surface of the lens, and it needs to

retain the moisture. There are wetting

agents mixed in to these lenses, they

do not need to be additionally added.

They are thin lenses with soft edges and

are comfortable, with comfortable being

defined as 'end of day comfort' not just

after half an hour of wearing."

In addition, Shannon adds, "You can

help yourself to have more comfortable

eyes with simples steps, like stay

hydrated! Also, keep an eye on and

improve your intake of Omega 3s and 6s,

and use lubricating eye drops to alleviate

dryness and discomfort. If your eyes are

blurry, it could be down to dehydration,

but also check your prescription is correct,

and also how far away your PC's screen

is. Every little helps when it comes to eye

health, so keep an eye on it!"

You can check your digital Eye-D at

Francesca Marchetti, Chireal Shallow and

David Shannon are all advisors on WINK, an

independent eye-care panel established by


Did you know?

Up to 20% of adults in the UK describe

themselves as 'addicted' to their digital

devices. Time spent online per user is

higher on smartphones than desktops

and laptops. The average British worker

receives and sends over 10,000 emails

a year. Nearly three quarters (7%) of

internet users aged 16 and above

say they have a social media profile,

compared to 22% in 2007. The average

internet user is surfing the net for 20

hours a week, twice as much as they

would have in 2005.


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