College of Optometrists issues advice on lockdown eye care to mark 6/6

  • 5 Jun 2020

We've issued advice to help the general public look after their eyes during lockdown.

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To mark 6/6 (6 June 2020), the College of Optometrists has issued advice for the general public to help them look after their eyes while some may be spending more time than ever looking at screens. 6/6 and 20/20 are lines on a sight test chart that many people refer to as a good level of vision. 20/20 vision is a term for visual acuity (the clarity of your eyesight) and 6/6 is the British version of this term. 

In the current lockdown, with many people working and schooling from home, you may be feeling Teams tired or Zoomed out. Here three tips to help your eyes in virtual meetings:

  • Make meetings shorter, more productive and better for your eyes by incorporating the 20/20/20 rule. Limit virtual meetings to 40 minutes, with a mid-time break to rest your eyes and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds
     
  • Remember to blink. Focusing on a screen or your webcam may make you blink less effectively, which may make your eyes dry and uncomfortable
     
  • Wear your glasses if they have been recommended for looking at computer screens. If you are experiencing eye strain despite taking regular breaks, contact your optometrist, they will be able to provide support over the phone, and arrange a consultation if you have symptoms that are urgent or have an essential need. 

Daniel Hardiman-McCartney FCOptom, Clinical Adviser at The College of Optometrists says; “We know that many people are concerned about their vision following what is a natural increase in screen time. Hopefully our tips will help with any headaches or vision strain, and it is important to remember that watching too much TV or being very close to a computer screen may make your eyes tired or give you a headache – particularly if you are watching TV in the dark – but won’t cause any permanent damage. At the moment, optometrists in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and England, have suspended routine eye examinations but are still offering urgent, emergency and essential eye care. If you are worried about your eyes or your vision, you can phone your optical practice.”

20/20 vision is a term for visual acuity (the clarity of your eyesight) in which the first number refers to distance and the second number refers to letter size. 6/6 is the British version of this term, and it’s written in metres, whereas 20/20 is the American notation in feet. Many people can see better than 6/6 or 20/20 and 6/6 is not the lowest line on the chart.

ENDS


Note to Editors

  • The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.
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