My Word of the Week is, ‘Eyes,’ which has come about as I’ve discovered the dangers of too much screen time.
I have had a few days away from my blog this week due to problems with my eyes. I have worked really, really hard over the past year on my blog, freelance work and my other employment. I have also done this whilst caring for my children, dog and our house. I have not had a moment to stop.
My jobs all require me to be on the laptop for many hours per day/night. I am very lucky that I am able to work from home for the majority of the time and that I am able to be here for my children. It is coming at a cost to my health though. Here are some of the dangers I’ve found from too much screen time:
- It can damage your eyes
- It can make you have more frequent headaches
- It can make you more sensitive to light
- It can make you feel sick, constantly
- It can make you feel tired
As I spend a lot of time doing the general day-to-day activities that come with having children, I often have no choice but to do my work later in the evening or at night. I get very little time away from my children. I don’t even get to have a break at any time during the day or night. I regularly have to start work at 9pm, after a full day of caring for my children as it is sometimes impossible for me to do it any other way. Being a single parent, for me, means doing everything all of the time. I love caring for my children and I feel very lucky that I can, I also love all of my jobs. I just need more time!
Over the past few months, I have had all of the symptoms above. My eyes have been very painful, everything has been blurry and all of this has contributed to a general unwell feeling. I visited the opticians, who did not have an appointment for me for at least three weeks. They recommended that I visit the doctor. I visited the doctor. The doctor said she was unable to talk to me about it much as I had blurred vision, stabbing pains behind my eyes and a headache. After half an hour of telling me my blood pressure was dangerously low, then finding out her machine was actually broken and my blood pressure was perfect for me, she told me to go to Accident and Emergency. It made me feel very stressed. I didn’t go (*not recommended*) as I had no one to pick my son up from school, as I knew that I would probably be in there longer than the half hour I would have had to visit A&E. Instead, I visited a different opticians in a different town that happened to have an appointment for me a couple of days later (after spending a day of ringing every optician within an hour’s drive). Mum and Dad had to drive me there, as I couldn’t see well enough to take myself, I was too tired and I was certainly unable to concentrate. They both looked after me, my children and Floppy dog for the weekend as I tried to catch up on some sleep.
The optician said that since my last appointment, six months ago, both my eyes had deteriorated considerably and that now rather than wearing my glasses for seeing the TV, driving and watching the football, I now needed to wear them all the time. I also have had to have much stronger lenses. He said that it was most likely the screen time that had caused this, along with all the other symptoms I’d had. Here are some of the solutions he suggested:
- Don’t spend as much time looking at screens.
- Position my laptop so that the top of it is a eye level. Eyes naturally look down so this will help the strained muscles in my eyes.
- Take a ten minute complete break from looking at any screens after each half hour on the laptop.
- Sleep more.
- Don’t work as much.
- Don’t spend as much time looking at screens!
This is all great advice and I know that my eye sight is very important. I need my eyes! BUT I also need to house, feed and clothe my children. I need to be able to work. I need to continue to do the hours I work, otherwise, well, I’d have no money. So what do I do? Here are some of my own solutions:
- Win the lottery.
- Invent a time machine.
- Petition for longer days. About 12 hours extra per day should cover it.
- Grow a money tree.
- Ask for a pay rise. At least £500 per hour should be about right.
I really do not feel that I have much choice, to be honest. Childcare is too expensive and I have very limited amounts of time that others can care for my children. What would you do in my position? If you are a single parent, how do you cope with the pressures of full time work, childcare and having time to sleep? I’d love to know if there is an easier way to do all of this. In the mean time, I will be sleeping ten minutes less for every half hour I’m working.