More than four in 10 working adults who have been using screens more during lockdown believe that their eyesight has been affected, according to a new survey.

A Fight for Sight report has found that respondents to a YouGov poll said they had experienced difficulty reading, migraines and poorer night vision.

A total of 49% of respondents said their screen time has increased since the pandemic began, including 33% who stated that it had increased by more than two hours.

In addition, 21% of respondents said they were less likely to get an eye test now than they were before the pandemic because of fear of catching or spreading the virus.

Sherine Krause, chief executive at Fight for Sight, said: ‘With the Covid-19 pandemic having forced so many of us to move to digital working, online learning and even virtual socialising, it is not surprising that our screen time has soared this year.

‘However, it’s vital that the benefits of increased digital access and use during lockdown do not come at the detriment of our eye health. We would urge employers to take their responsibilities towards staff seriously during this period of extended home working and to encourage employees to take regular breaks from screens.

‘People should also continue routine eye care throughout the pandemic and to get their eyes tested if they feel their sight has deteriorated. More than half of all cases of sight loss are avoidable through early detection and prevention methods and regular eye tests can often detect symptomless sight-threatening conditions.’

Fight for Sight has encouraged people to adopt the 20-20-20 rule to help prevent eye strain and emphasised the importance of having regular sight tests.

The charity noted that there is not currently enough research to conclusively say that increased screen time could lead to deteriorating sight.

However, it highlighted that some studies found a potential risk of rising myopia rates due to children spending more time indoors and performing near tasks, such as using a smartphone.