Derbyshire opticians urge people to take regular screen breaks after survey found eyesight was worsening in lockdown

Opticians across Derbyshire are urging people to take regular screen breaks during lockdown, after a survey found customer’s eyesight had worsened during lockdown.

Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:28 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 12:34 pm

Newly opened Chesterfield eyesight specialists, Oculi Opticians are reminding people to make sure they have dedicated time away from their screens while working from home – to protect their sight after a number of customers complained of headaches.

The opticians which opened between the first and second lockdown in September last year, is concerned customers are taking fewer breaks away from computers and phones than they would usually when working in an office which could be causing the issue.

It comes after a customer survey from Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care in Alfreton found that their eyesight had worsened during the past year, with over two-thirds reporting increased screen time for watching TV, shopping, work and scanning social media.

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Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care in Alfreton.

The poll by the Derbyshire-based opticians was carried out to mark 12 months since the first national lockdown was brought in to slow the spread of Covid-19 – with 71% of respondents saying they had kept their eye test appointments and of these 47% found their prescriptions had changed for the worse.

But three quarters of people did not take up eye test reminders said it was due to concerns about the pandemic.

Kate Hirst, who owns Oculi Opticians on Chatsworth Road, explained why customers might feel that their eyesight has been declining after almost a year of on and off lockdowns.

She said: "There's possibly an increase because you do tend to find people saying they're getting headaches more because they are on the screen longer.

"I think it is the fact people are working from home don't tend to be having as many breaks as they probably naturally would at work because you just sit there for hours on your screen.”

The dispensing optician also advised people to make sure they are going outside and getting fresh air, which will give their eyes a break from straining to look at screens and to book an eye test if they have concerns.

Sam Wade, manager of the Scrivens branch on High Street in Alfreton, added: “It is important to keep appointments for eye tests as they detect not only changes in our vision but are also a means of checking general health too.

“As restrictions ease and life returns to normal, we hope people will feel more confident about having their eyes checked, especially if they have noticed any differences in their vision.

“More of us are spending more time in a virtual life so we would advise taking regular breaks to guard against eye strain.

"For those who wear glasses or contact lenses it is advisable to keep prescriptions up to date.”

A total of 69% of respondents to the Scrivens online survey said that their screen time had increased, with one in ten putting the extra time at six hours or more a day.

The most popular reasons given were online shopping, watching TV, social media, work, virtual socialising, gaming and home schooling.

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