Screen time during the pandemic: the health effects

For the best part of twenty years, our eyes have become accustomed to increasing amounts of screen time. The advent of the smartphone, and more recently the predominance of streaming services, have accelerated this lifestyle change.

Since the beginning of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, our dependence on digital devices has increased markedly. Whether it is for exercise, studies, socialising or entertainment, there are few activities in our daily routine that do not involve a screen.

One American study has revealed that more than half of adults admit to spending more time on their computers and mobile phones, and to watching more TV, since the pandemic began.

This trend is not without consequences.

According to the American Optometric Association, excessive screen time has the potential to cause eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, and blurred vision. Even two hours of uninterrupted time staring at a screen can provoke such reactions.

Luckily, there are strategies we can adopt to minimise the long-term effects of this increase in screen time.

One of the best techniques is to divert your eyes from your computer every 20 minutes; focusing on an object that is 20 feet (6 metres) away, for a 20-second period.

Learn to identify the warning signs, and additional mitigation techniques, at