Eye health advice during coronavirus pandemic

Post date: 
Thursday, 21 May 2020

Eye health is more important than ever during the coronavirus lockdown. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has provided the following tips on how you can look after your eyes whilst in lockdown.

Screen time: there is no evidence to suggest that blue lights from screens are harmful. However, it is important that adults who are working from home take frequent breaks from screens and follow the 20,20,20 rule; take a break for at least 20 seconds, every 20 minutes, and look 20 feet away.

With children using online resources to complete their schoolwork, it is important to monitor the amount of screen time they have.

Gardening and DIY: it is crucial to always wear safety goggles when doing DIY, particularly when sawing, drilling, sanding or hammering. Ensure that appropriate grade eye protection is worn when using chemicals in case of splashes, and make sure you have enough light when doing any DIY. Phone your optometrist for advice on which eye protection is appropriate for your task.

General eye health: eating a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and staying active whilst in lockdown are vital in maintaining eye health. If you have conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, looking after general health can help to control these conditions.

Hygiene and coronavirus: avoid touching or rubbing your eyes and always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before inserting or removing contact lenses or using eye drops. If you have coronavirus, as with any infection, you should not wear contact lenses, even if symptoms are mild.

If you have any concerns about your vision or eye heath, you should contact your normal optometrist (optician) by phone. If they are providing emergency cover, they will talk to you on the phone about your symptoms and make a plan of action, which may include a face to face examination if necessary.

If your optometrist isn’t providing this, there should be a message directing you to the provider of emergency care in your local area, which may be another optician.

You should seek immediate help if you experience a sudden change in your vision. Do not go to your local optician, GP or A&E without phoning them first. If you are struggling to get help, call 111 for further advice, or check whether your hospital has an advice line for emergencies.

Dr Louise Gow, Specialist Lead in Eye Health at RNIB.

Notes to editors

All media enquiries to Emily Peachey on 0203 829 2917 or emily.peachey@rnib.org.uk.

Or, for urgent enquiries out-of-hours, please call 07968 482812.

About RNIB

We are the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Every six minutes, someone in the UK begins to lose their sight. RNIB is taking a stand against exclusion, inequality and isolation to create a world without barriers where people with sight loss can lead full lives. A different world where society values blind and partially sighted people not for the disabilities they’ve overcome, but for the people they are.

RNIB. See differently.

Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk