Confinement due to the Covid-19 pandemic could alarmingly increase the number of eye diseases among the population because, during this time, people spend much more time in front of the computer and cell phones, ophthalmology specialists warned when noting that eight out of 10 cases of blindness can be prevented.
And they added that more than 70% of the population does not go to ophthalmology consultations and is resigned to living with their disease. In a virtual conference Valeria Sánchez Huerta, general director of APEC Hospital de la Ceguera in Mexico, pointed out that the current panorama is challenging since there are about 12 million people who live with some visual limitation or disability.
Sánchez Huerta indicated that among the main visual diseases are refractive errors, cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and opacity in the cornea.
What is eye fatigue?
For his part, Marco Antonio Cantero, a member of the Mexican Society of Ophthalmology, explained that either through the “home office” or virtual classes, the reality is that the eyes have been more exposed to screens, which would affect sight and it would cause eye fatigue.
“It should be noted that eye fatigue manifests itself mainly with headaches or neck pain, irritated, tired, or with dry eyes. In addition to this, the cases of myopia in children, dry eyes, and conjunctivitis have increased ”, he asserted.
He added that the use of the mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 can lead to conditions such as styes, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, or herpes in the eyes, since the air from the nose and mouth, loaded with bacteria, comes up.
Importance of visual health
The ophthalmologist commented that it is important to make people aware of visual health and visual diseases since the eyes are responsible for processing 90 percent of the information received.
“A lot of attention should be paid to visual health and not damaging sight with practices such as lenses without an adequate prescription or without sun protection, using expired makeup, rubbing the eyes when a foreign object gets in, among others,” he mentioned.
Dr. Sánchez Huerta highlighted the importance of seeing an ophthalmologist once a year, especially when suffering from diabetes or hypertension, in order to prevent and/or treat diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma problems.
Recommendations to take care of the sight
To take care of sight, the specialist recommended when it is necessary to spend several hours in front of the computer or cell phone:
-Resting your eyes at intervals throughout the day
-Follow the 20-20-20 rule which is to look at 20 meters away, every 20 minutes, for 20 seconds
-Use lenses with the correct optical prescription
-Adjust screen brightness and contrast
-Position the computer screen in such a way that your eyes look slightly downwards and not directly in front or upwards
-Protect the eyes from the sun, even in winter and on cloudy days
-Maintain a balanced diet and maintain a distance of at least 30 cm from the screens.