A sudden vision change, swollen, red eyes and an itching, burning sensation are signs that you need to book an appointment with your eye doctor ASAP. Here are the five big Do’s and Don’ts of protecting your eyes.
Give Your Eyes Regular Screen-Time Breaks
The worldwide shift to a fully digitalized lifestyle has brought many benefits, from Zoom calls to online classes. However, there’s no ignoring the impact that the digital era has had on our health, especially our eyes.
Today, the average American clocks over seven hours of screen time every day. According to this study, that’s almost fourteen times longer than the recommended 30 minutes of social media use.
Excessive screen time strains the eyes leading to Computer Vision Syndrome (also known as Digital Eye Strain). This is a group of eye problems characterized by the following symptoms;
- Blurred vision
- Red and dry eyes
Other side effects of excess screen time include;
- Sleep deprivation
- Depression and anxiety
- Neck and back pain
Don’t Sleep with Your Eye Contacts In
There are many reasons it’s not safe to sleep with your contacts in. It mainly has to do with the cornea’s oxygen supply.
The cornea is the only body part that does not have blood vessels. This is necessary to keep it transparent for a clear vision. However, this also means not getting oxygen from the blood.
During the day, the cornea gets oxygen from the tear film covering the eye and directly from the surrounding air. When sleeping, the oxygen supply from the air to the cornea is reduced because the eyelids are shut. Luckily, the cornea continues to get nourishment from the capillaries in your eyelids. At night, these blood vessels leak plasma (containing oxygen and nutrients) to the tear film, which continues to replenish the cornea.
One side effect of wearing contact lenses is oxygen blockage to the eyes. This issue worsens when sleeping because the lenses sit between the eyelids and the cornea.
After sleeping with contact lenses, the least you can expect is redness or irritation. At worst, failure to remove your contact lenses when sleeping can cause a corneal abrasion, especially if it’s dry. This leaves it more vulnerable to bacterial infections and corneal ulcers, which can cause vision loss if left untreated.
Eat to Boost Your Eye Health
Another powerful way of maintaining healthy eyes is by minding your diet. In most cases, watching what we eat relates to weight-related issues. Unfortunately, rarely do we think of our eyesight when choosing what types of food to take.
Think of fish next time you plan your daily or weekly meal plans. Fish are a renowned source of omega-3 fatty acids known to reduce the bothersome symptoms of dry eye syndrome.
While dry eye tends to be chronic, it has also been found that these nutrients can reverse this disease, especially if it’s caused by too much screen time. Some of the best fish for omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and herring.
Turnips, collard greens, kales, spinach, broccoli, garden peas and oranges are other foods that improve eyesight. These foods contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These are types of carotenoids with multiple eye health benefits. Lutein, in particular, is thought to play a critical role in preventing age-related macular degeneration, which is among the leading causes of blindness.
Seafood, red meat, poultry, oysters, dried beans and milk and other dairy products are another must-have in your meals. These foods are a rich source of zinc. This trace element has been shown to optimize eye health by slowing down macular degeneration, cloudy cataracts, poor night vision and impaired vision.
Workout Your Eyes Too!
Most people understand the importance of regular physical activity. But are you aware that there are exercises that improve vision? There are no proven exercises for treating eye-related diseases, such as myopia, cataracts and astigmatism. However, some eye exercises have proven to help with improving focus and increasing eye comfort.
Here are a few easy and fast exercises that you can try right now:
Near and Far Focus
Hold a pen ten inches from your face and focus on its tip for 15 seconds. After 15 seconds, identify another object 20 feet away and gaze at it for 15 seconds. Then, shift your gaze back to the pen. Repeat several times.
Tracee a figure eight on the floor about 10 feet away from where you are sitting. Continue tracing the figure for 30 seconds in one direction. After 30 seconds, switch directions and keep tracing for another 30 seconds.
You need to incorporate this rule into your work routine, especially if you spend a lot of time glued to your computer screen. This rule requires you to look at an object 20 feet away from you for about 20 seconds for every 20 minutes of screen time.
Always Grab Your Sunglasses When Heading Out
Sunglasses are more than just another stylish accessory you can’t go out without. In addition to making it easy for you to see clearly when the sun is beaming down, these are essential tools for protecting your eyes against glare and UV light.
UV light is often associated with skin problems. However, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) notes that too much exposure to ultraviolet light increases the risk of eye-related diseases, including snow blindness, cataracts and eye cancers and growths on the eye.