A woman has told how she can’t cry anymore after staring at screens all day for work and leisure left her with “dry eye syndrome.”
Despite being just 21-years-old, an optician has told Zara Pereira that she can no longer produce tears and must put a warm compress on her eyes every day.
Zara, from Cardiff, Wales, says she went to the opticians for the first time since lockdown on Wednesday knowing her eyesight had “got worse” as she had been forced to squint to watch TV.
She told WalesOnline: “With a family history of cataracts, going fully blind and everyone in my family but my little sister having to fork out money for glasses and contact lenses regularly, I was feeling slightly anxious about my appointment.
“So as I completed my eye test, I never expected the optician to turn around and tell me I wasn’t able to produce tears anymore, and that I would have to put a warm compress over my eyes for 20 minutes every day.”
The optician told Zara, a reporter, there is “no cure” for dry eyes and said it was down to “too much screen use,” not anything genetic.
She says her “heart sunk” when she realized she stares at screens at work for at least 40 hours a week.
“Yet I haven’t even accounted for the hours I spend scrolling through my TikTok feed and watching Netflix after work to ‘relax’ after my shift,” she added.
“As painful as it is to admit it, I think the only time I don’t look at screens is when I’m asleep.”
Zara is now warning others about the dangers of too much screen time as she says technology has become “second nature to us.”
“The optician told me that spending so many hours staring at a screen, in and outside of work, can cause a serious strain on your eyes,” she said.
“We tend to blink less while staring at the screen and the movement of it means our eyes have to work harder to focus.
“It starts with your eyes getting tired from the screens. When using them at night, it can be hard to go to sleep. Headaches, double vision and difficulties concentrating are common. Don’t ignore these signs.”
What is ‘dry eye syndrome’?
Dry eye syndrome is a common condition where your eye cannot produce enough lubrication.
Many people who suffer from it are unable to cry.
Symptoms include itchiness, soreness, blurry vision and redness.
It can be caused by looking at computer screens for too long without a break, wearing contact lenses, or if you smoke.
The condition can also be caused by spending time in air-conditioned areas or if it’s windy and cold outside.
The NHS advises people to keep their eyes clean, take breaks when using computers, and to get plenty of sleep.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.