If you’ve been affected by COVID-19 and are still dealing with eye strain, I feel for you. There’s no shortage of information about the virus online, but it seems like most of it is about how to prevent getting sick in the first place. What if you already have COVID-19?
As per Statista, more than 600 million people worldwide have had COVID-19. The virus has caused more than 6 million deaths up until November 2022.
Here are some tips for managing the recovery of your eyes from a bad case of this nasty virus:
Control your eye strain
Eye strain is a common symptom of COVID-19. It can cause headaches and blurred vision, but it’s not usually a serious condition. Eye strain has gotten worse during the pandemic due to being on our screens all the time.
According to an NIH survey done in Saudi Arabia, digital eye strain has been seen in 78% of the participants due to continuous or intermittent time spent on screen during the curfew.
Eye strain occurs when you spend too much time looking at something close up (like your computer screen). When this happens, the muscles in the eyes get tired and don’t work as well as they should. This can cause pain or blurry vision.
If you have eye strain from using computers during this time, try taking frequent breaks from staring at the screen by looking away from it and focusing on something far away for 20 seconds every few minutes.
You could also try changing what you’re doing for short periods. For example: watching TV instead of reading an article online so that your eyes aren’t always focused in one direction for long periods.
Get an eye exam
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that approximately 93 million US adults are at a high risk of vision loss. But only half of them visited an eye doctor in the last 12 months.
It’s important to get an eye exam after recovering from COVID-19. Getting your eyes checked by an optometrist or ophthalmologist can help ensure that you’re getting the right treatment for your eyes and that they are functioning properly.
It’s also essential to make sure that you’re wearing the right pair of glasses for your needs, so it’s a good idea to have an eye exam done as soon as possible.
You can wear sunglasses or blue light-blocking glasses to help your eyes recover from pandemic-induced sensitivity.
If you wear prescription glasses, make sure they include UV and blue-light protection. Look for lenses that block out 100% of UVA/UVB rays and 80% blue light. This will protect your eyes from the harsh effects of sunlight and artificial lighting, including the screen glare on your phone.
If you don’t have a pair of prescription sunglasses, consider investing in a pair that has polarized lenses. They reduce glaring reflections caused by bright lights, making it easier for people to see what’s going on around them. There are also non-prescription options available if you want an easy way to shield yourself from outdoor glare with less risk than wearing regular sunglasses indoors or driving at night with tinted windows.
You can buy these at most major retailers by searching for “eye glasses near me” on Google. Look for something labelled “anti-glare” or “polarised.” You may need different types depending on whether you’re indoors or outdoors. There are polarized versions with visible tinting (for indoor use) and thinner high-quality polarized versions without any tinting (for outdoors).
Use artificial tears
If you continue to have dry eye symptoms after your illness subsides, using artificial tears throughout the day can help keep your eyes lubricated and safe.
Artificial tears are available over the counter (OTC) in a variety of brands and forms. Look for preservative-free options that are high in hyaluronic acid, as these will provide long-lasting moisture without irritating your eyes.
To apply artificial tears:
- Unscrew 1 or more units from the bottle and gently squeeze until drops come out of one tip.
- Hold one drop about 2 inches from the eye for about 10 seconds, then blink several times to spread it on both eyelids. If necessary, repeat this process with another unit of artificial tear if you still experience discomfort or blurred vision immediately after applying a single drop.
If you’re still experiencing eye strain, it’s important to seek help from a doctor. They can assess the health of your eyes and recommend treatment options that could help.
While COVID-19 is no longer infecting people, there are still cases being reported around the world. If you think you may have been infected with this virus or another one similar to measles or mumps, speak with your local healthcare provider immediately so they can determine whether or not testing is necessary before taking any action.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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