In 2019, the WHO released a report revealing that at least 2.2 billion people have vision impairment or blindness, of which one billion cases were preventable or have yet to be addressed. Evidently, eye health is something that’s still massively overlooked, and because of this, treatable cases are left untreated until it’s too late. With increased time spent staring at monitors during long work days, flicking through social media on mobiles, or evening TV Netflix binges, there is concern that our digital lifestyles are contributing hugely to the statistics outlined above.
If you take the state of your eyes seriously and want to stay informed, you’ve come to the right place. Here at Ocushield, we devote ourselves to ensuring people can maintain good eye health, particularly in the modern era where there are more hazards than ever. Here we share five ways to improve eye health and decrease the likelihood of problems occurring.
1. Reduce and break up your computer screen time
As is the reality of modern work, many people are required to sit in front of a glaring screen for hours and hours, grinding out work from morning until evening. However, this has the potential to cause certain problems, such as eye strain, dry eyes and blurred vision, with one of the principal reasons being an overexposure to blue light. To curb this, you should take frequent breaks from your screen — at least once every two hours, but ideally every half an hour. Whether it’s grabbing a coffee, chatting with a friend, or doing some breathing exercises, make sure that it is done without a screen, and that includes your phone.
It’s also a good idea to reduce your screen time outside of working hours, especially from your phone. This not only benefits your eyesight, but also your mental health by protecting you from dopamine addiction.. To help you with this task, Apple has implemented Screen Time software that allows you to monitor your daily screen time, informing you which apps you seem to stay on for the longest. It also gives you the ability to set boundaries and limits on apps, meaning you will be locked out after a certain amount of time per day, according to what limits you set. Android phones have a similar function called Digital Wellbeing.
2. Eat well to help dry eyes
The link between the two might not be immediately apparent, but nutrition has an effect on eye health. At its most basic, some of the health complications of being overweight can cause problems that impact your sight. including retinal vessel occlusions, diabetic eye problems and eye conditions related to stroke.
Moreover, dry eyes are a common condition where there may be a problem with your tears that usually maintains the moistness and comfort. Research has shown that omega 3, a group of fatty acids that we get from oily fish, can have a positive effect on the symptoms of dry eye when taken in certain quantities. Omega 3 can be obtained from fish, such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, herring and fresh tuna. If you’re a vegetarian, you can also get omega 3 from chia seeds, kidney beans, walnuts and soybean oil.
3. Use physical aids
Using physical implements is a useful way to help maintain your eye health. When you’re outside on a warm, sunny day, for example, the UV radiation could damage your macula and retina, which is why sunglasses or caps are needed. Sunglasses, for instance, have a mirror coating on them that reflects the UV rays away from your eyes. Make sure you’re using a pair that’s fit for purpose though, as cheap sunglasses may not have the required protection and actually do more harm than good.
The sun on a hot day is not your eyes’ only enemy, however. As mentioned a few times already, the damaging effect of digital devices due to blue light is harmful too, causing all kinds of ailments, from dry eyes, to blurred vision and headaches. To avoid this, you could consider installing a screen protector on your monitor, laptop or mobile phone. Here at Ocushield, we also have anti-blue light glasses, which do the same job as sunglasses against UV light, but for the blue light emitted from screens.
4. Use eye drops
Eye drops (otherwise known as artificial tears) are usually saline solutions with medication in them to treat various eye conditions, such as itchiness and dry eyes. Other times, however, they contain no medication and are meant to lubricate the eyes or reduce the feeling of a surface scratch, flushing out any residual contamination.
Eye drops work by replacing your eyes’ moisture when they are unable to create enough wetness on their own. This, as you’d expect, relieves dryness and irritation, while also promoting surface healing and increasing comfort.
5. Visit an eye doctor or optometrist
An optometrist or eye health expert can give you invaluable insight into your eye health. This isn’t just about the cleanness of your vision and whether you need glasses though. Even if your eyesight is clear as day, it doesn’t automatically mean your eyes are healthy. An eye doctor checks to see if you have any early signs of eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. It isn’t uncommon for optometrists to discover unrelated health issues too, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, just from examining your eyes.
In an ideal world, a visit to the optometrist should be conducted two years, but you will want to go more often if you are over 40 or have family members with glaucoma or diabetes.