Between televisions, smartphones and work computers, our modern lives are filled with glowing screens from morning till night. This phenomenon doesn’t come without a price; doctors and ophthalmologists are reporting increasing numbers of patients with short-sightedness and computer-related eye dryness and fatigue.
Normally, lacrimal glands near the bone on the upper outside parts of the eyes lubricate them with tears. In addition, the meibomian glands within the eyelid excrete oils that float on the surface of the eyeball, locking in moisture.
Staring at screens for extended periods of time causes eyes to become dry, which then leads to increased sensitivity, tiredness and discomfort.
Here are five tips to keep your eyes in optimal health:
Throughout the workday you should be giving your eyes intermittent rests form the computer screen. A useful and easy to remember trick is the 20-20-20 rule, which states that for every 20 minutes of screen time, focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
It is healthy for eyes to refocus all the time as opposed to being fixated on a screen for too long a period. It lets eye muscles rest and prevents dryness.
One of the reasons screens tire our eyes is the fact that prolonged screen staring doesn’t require our eyes to blink as they would normally, a mechanism of self-lubrication for the eye. While an individual normally blinks every three seconds, that changes to every 12 seconds when in front of a computer screen. Thus, our eyes become especially dry.
Doctors report that the hardest-hit eyes are those of people engaged in data entry for eight hours a day or more.
Try to minimize screen time by telephoning or talking to colleagues instead of writing lengthy e-mails.
Adding extra omega-3 fatty acids, sadly lacking from many people’s diets, will help strengthen eyes.
Modern eating habits leave lots of people with unhealthy balances of omega acids in their bodies; processed foods contain omega-6, which, when not balanced with omega-3, can be unhealthy. This imbalance is also known to lead to dry eyes.
Scientific studies have concluded that adding fish like salmon, herring or tuna, even once a week, to a balanced diet will reduce “dry-eye.” Vegetarians can opt for flaxseed oil.
Walk it off
Several theories exist about the causes for short-sightedness. Aside from genetic factors, large amounts of reading could be to blame. Alternatively, many experts believe that low levels of light during close-range eye use, like in reading, contribute to short-sightedness. Studies show that children who spend more time outdoors than indoors have better eyesight.
If you work inside all day, give your eyes a power boost by making sure to take an outdoor walk at least once a day, for ten minutes, weather permitting. You don’t need bright summer sunlight for this method to be helpful.
Use eye drops
If your eyes are depleted of their natural protective moisture during the day, you can use eye prescription or over-the-counter drops to alleviate the problem – especially if you wear contact lenses.