THE last 18 months has seen more Leeton shire residents work from home and more children learning with devices, so how has this impacted on their eyesight?
The answer is simple and it's not great news.
Rosanna Bruno is an optometrist in Leeton and said she had seen an increase in the number of adults and children seeking help from her over the past year.
"We are getting a spike of people coming in with eye strain ... I did see it last year as well with children who were home learning," Mrs Bruno said.
"Normally you would see students in years 11 and 12 around exam time coming in, but I was getting more visits from the years seven and eight age groups.
"They were home schooling, on the laptops a lot. It's the same for people who have been working from home or even those who spend a lot of time in front of a computer every day at work or just for personal use.
"We're all guilty of overusing devices."
Eye strain is a form of discomfort which occurs when eye muscles are overused.
Like any muscle that is held in the one position for too long it will eventually become strained.
When concentrating on tasks such as reading, working at the computer or watching television for prolonged periods of time, your inner eye muscles tighten.
Mrs Bruno said there was a way to combat eye strain and ensure your eye health.
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The first is to get an eye test just to see where things are at with vision.
"Another thing people can do is the 20:20:20 rule ... so every 20 minutes you look 20 feet or six metres away for 20 seconds," Mrs Bruno said.
"It's resetting the muscles in your eyes and resetting your vision. It helps with fatigue later.
"We all know about it, but 20 minutes goes like that, especially when you're staring at a screen.
"If you're going from a Zoom meeting, to doing your work online, to scrolling on your phone to watching the Olympics on TV ... we need to start factoring this technique into our days.
"You're not getting those usual breaks when you're working from home like getting up and talking to a colleague or serving a customer ... that's why it's so important to take the time to look away from your screens."
With technology only expanding in the modern world, Mrs Bruno said she did worry about what that means for the eyesight of young people in the years ahead.
She encouraged residents to take their eye health seriously, starting with regular check ups before an issue occurs.
"The sooner people have an eye test, the better," Mrs Bruno said.
"People might have underlying conditions that don't know about. It's an easy test to do so there is no need to be worried."
You can find Mrs Bruno at the optometrists in Wade Avenue where the business is COVID safe and ready to assist residents of all ages.
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