Got 'Zoom fatigue’ from working or going to class at home?

Long hours in front of computer screens taking toll on bodies as well as minds

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As people deal with stress from the pandemic, many are also experiencing so-called "Zoom fatigue."

Employees working from home and students doing online learning may have a tough time adjusting to the sudden increase in screen time.

“It really is a lot more mentally draining, and a big reason for that is our brain is not getting the same kinds of non-verbal cues that we would typically pick up on when we’re actually sitting face to face with a person,” said Dr. Heather Goff, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.

Goff suggest building in breaks. Other tips include covering your own face on the screen and limiting distractions such as cell phones.

"As much as we can, kind of keep things to a shorter duration or fewer Zoom meetings. It's okay to go back to using the telephone sometimes if we need to," said Goff.

Staring at the screen can also lead to dry eyes, headaches, or occasional blurriness.

"We have definitely seen an uptick in people who are having this eye strain and coming in basically as urgent patients saying, 'Something is wrong with my eyes,'" said Dr. James Pitts, an eye surgeon at Hawaiian Eye Center.

Pitts recommends monitoring your usage and making sure to look away from the screen at regular intervals.

“20 seconds every 20 minutes sounds easy, but it’s really difficult to get a kid to stare away off into the distance for 20 seconds straight, so really make these organic breaks -- give them a snack, change chairs every 20 minutes,” said Pitts.

Digital eye strain generally does not lead to permanent damage, according to Pitts.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.