Another lockdown – Michelle Beach

27th January 2021

Another lockdown… Can our eyes cope??

So here we are January 2021 and many of us back to our home offices for the third time. Or maybe you have never left your make-shift office on the corner of the dining room table?

We are now on lockdown three, and we are getting pretty used to the “working from home if you can” government advice… BUT are your eyes? How are THEY doing? From my position opposite you in my examination room, I would say… not too good!

From the increased specialist Dry Eye appointments that have been booked at Park Vision and the list of symptoms you have all described to me, I would say our eyes are having as much a rough time as our mental health.
Achey… sore… red… gritty… blurry… tired… poor focus… hard to concentrate… sound familiar??

So why is this? For many of us we have retreated to the quietest flat surface in the house that we can find for our Zoom/Teams/Facetime meetings. We have changed a small screen for a larger one, checked the background – made sure there are no embarrassing books or pictures, and then… checked ourselves!

You realise pretty quickly that looking down at the camera is NOT flattering… no… not at all!! No-one wants to see a saggy jaw, double chin and God forbid, nostril hair!!
The only way is up!

Get that screen up at eye level or above and my goodness it’s like taking off 10 years! Lighting, bit of make-up (boys too), and you are ready for a day of office meetings and firmly in the driving seat… literally!!

For anyone wearing multifocal lenses you have now put yourself in the most flattering and easy working position BUT the worst possible position for your eyes. You are looking straight ahead as if driving a car and yet you are looking at a screen probably less than a metre away. This distance is perfect when looking through the lower section of your glasses – as if looking at your phone or a laptop on a desk… NOT a screen placed straight ahead of you. You are effectively now going to spend 8 hours plus using the wrong part of your glasses. Feeling tired yet?

So how are your eyes going to manage this? Well your eye muscles are going to have to work as hard as they can to focus in the extra distance. Imagine sitting at a desk and holding weights in both arms flexing your biceps…..wouldn’t they start to hurt after a while? They would also start to get hot as the muscles are working hard.
Your eye muscles are no different…they are over-working… the ocular surface will get hot and guess what? …they tear surface will therefore evaporate faster and you will get dry eye symptoms. If you have any binocular vision anomaly, which many of you have without realising, you will get these symptoms even faster. The need for endless amounts of caffeine and breaks, lack of concentration and silly mistakes can all sometimes be symptomatic of the wrong glasses.

I have seen so many Dry Eye issues fixed after careful binocular vision correction and the use of a specialist occupational lens. This is a lens designed for sitting in front of a computer all day. After all you don’t expect one pair of shoes to fit all your day to day activities, so why would you expect one pair of glasses to be perfectly suitable for all your visual needs?

So, if you are sitting reading this with sore, gritty eyes, drinking your fifth cup of coffee of the day, researching dry eye drops on google and watching the clock till your next break… maybe it is time to get a really thorough eye exam and discuss the possibility of an occupational desk lens.

Michelle Beach
Founder & Optometrist
Park Vision Nottingham