A UK-based eye health charity has warned about the potential damage that extra screen time during lockdown could be causing, and we explain why a good Health Cash Plan makes a lot of sense.
Fight for Sight says a survey it commissioned of 2,000 people found that half have increased their screen time since Covid struck, with a third (33%) saying their usage has risen by more than two hours, up to four hours a day. Of those who said their screen time has increased, more than a third (38%) believed their eyesight had worsened as a result.
The online poll, conducted by YouGov, also found, shockingly, that half of students and more than four in 10 (42%) working adults believe an increase in screen time during the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their sight.
Among respondents who said their eyesight has deteriorated during lockdown, 39% say they now have difficulty reading as a result. Over one in five (23%) report headaches or migraines, while 17% say they have poorer night vision.
Despite the findings, 21% of respondents said they were less likely to have an eye test now than they were before the pandemic because of fear of catching or spreading the virus. Nearly one in 10 (9%) said they were less likely to have an eye test because they believed it was too expensive.
Speaking about the results of the poll, Fight for Sight chief executive, Sherine Krause, said: "With the Covid-19 pandemic having forced so many of us to move to digital working, online learning and even virtual socialising, it is not surprising that our screen time has soared this year. However, it’s vital that the benefits of increased digital access and use during lockdown do not come at the detriment of our eye health.”
She added: “More than half of all cases of sight loss are avoidable through early detection and prevention methods. Regular eye tests can often detect symptomless sight-threatening conditions."
Fight for Sight says people whose screen time has increased in the last year should adopt the 20-20-20 rule to help prevent eye strain.
The 20-20-20 rule recommends that for every 20 minutes spent using a screen, people should try to look at something different that is 20 feet away from them for a total of 20 seconds. The charity is also encouraging people to have regular eye tests and reminding people that the majority of opticians are open for appointments despite lockdown restrictions being in place.
Finally, Fight for Sight says that under health and safety legislation in the UK, employers must pay for an eye test for their employees if they use a screen for more than an hour a day as part of their jobs.
With many more employees working from home it’s very important to ensure they are getting the support they need from their employers. A cost effective way of protecting staff is via a cash plan that covers the cost of an eye test, as well as other important benefits. Cash plans start from as little as £1 per week per employee.
For further information on cash plans and other support for your employees contact Premier Choice Healthcare on 0800 970 1618 or at firstname.lastname@example.org