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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Computer or Phone - Tips to protect your eyes when staring at a screen


Rachel Morrow at Food Matters writes:
"Stare At A Screen All Day : Three Things To Do To Protect Your Eyes ! 
Our eyes are pretty amazing organs. We get to witness the outside world with them. Every day they are exposed to constant stimulation yet continue to work efficiently, for most of us. The thing is, the stimulus that we are exposing our eyes to has changed drastically over the years. We are now in a digital age - A time where our digital screen time and lifestyle is slowing down our eye's efficiency due to continuous stress on the eyes. One of the most common stressors to eye strain, blue light! Visible light is defined by how long the wavelengths are and how much energy is produced. The longer the wavelength, the less energy is produced (safer), and the shorter the wavelength, the more energy is produced (potentially dangerous).

Here's a quick breakdown on red light vs blue light:
Red light, like from a heating lamp, is an example of a long-wavelength, low-energy light.
Blue light, from digital devices like computer screens, phones, and TVs has the shortest wavelengths and is, therefore, the highest energy. Blue light is damaging to the eyes because, unlike other UV rays that are blocked by the cornea and the lens, virtually all visible blue light passes through and goes straight to the light-sensitive retina, causing damage that can lead to degenerative conditions and vision loss.
Naturally, we are exposed to small amounts of blue light from sunlight during the day, the damage comes when we have excessive exposure in front of electronic devices, especially at night-time, which emits significant amounts of blue light. Staring at a screen for long periods of time can cause eye fatigue and other symptoms such as eyestrain, dry eyes, headache, fatigue, blurred vision, and difficulty focusing and sleeping.

A Harvard Medical School study found that blue light exposure at night suppressed melatonin production for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much.

OK, we get it, there are 101 things you need to remember to do daily to maintain your health, and now you've got to think about how much time you're spending staring at your screens? Before you panic, we want you to know there are some really simple things you can do to prevent the damage. Here's how you can start:

1. Eat Foods For Eye Health
We love the saying "you are what you eat"! Some of the best foods you can include in your diet for eye health include:
Dark Leafy Greens: The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are primarily found in green leafy vegetables, with kale and spinach topping the list of lutein-rich foods. Other healthy options include Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Lutein and zeaxanthin are both important nutrients for eye health, as both of them are found in high concentrations in your macula — the small central part of your retina responsible for detailed central vision.
Orange Fruit & Vegetables: Think carrots, pumpkin, oranges and sweet potato. Eating a variety of these is going to give your body the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy eyesight. This is largely due to the high amounts of vitamin A, phytonutrients, vitamin C, lutein & zeaxanthin.
Healthy Fats: Since many of the vitamins are responsible for eye health are “fat-soluble nutrients” - that are absorbed best when eaten with a source of lipids (fats). Pair these vitamins with something like omega-3 foods (like salmon), coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds for proper absorption.

2. Hello, New Computer And Phone Habits!
How much time do you spend on your phone, computer, or watching TV per day? Really think about this... It’s probably a lot more than you think. Young adults are spending about five hours per day on their phone, just their phone. If you work in front of a computer for eight hours per day, add that in plus whatever time you spend in front of a TV at night watching Netflix or FMTV ;-) That's a fair chunk of your day!
Our tips: Take frequent breaks by looking away from the screen for 2 to 3 minutes every 15 to 20 minutes. Glare from digital screens can also have an effect on the eyes, so try to avoid overhead lights and use a desk lamp instead to control the glare that might come in from any nearby windows. Blue light blocker glasses are now widely available that can help filter the blue light coming from digital devices. You can also install blue light filters on most smartphones. Our biggest tip would be to challenge yourself to spend some time off your screen at night, especially 2-3 hours before bed - You may even notice a more restful nights sleep - Winning!

3. Change Up Your Lifestyle Habits
The smallest changes to our daily routine can help take stress off of our eyes. Start thinking about things like:
Wear sunglasses: Find yourself outdoors for long periods of time? Wearing sunglasses can help to protect your eyes from excessive exposure to UVA and UVB.
Stop smoking: No brainer here, but smoking cigarettes produces cyanide, which is damaging to the eyes.
Hydrate your eyeballs: Hold up on the staring competitions and blink - blinking is actually our eyes way of Moving.
Move your body: Turns out, being active isn't just good for your booty! Although exercise is considered beneficial for overall health, it can also help support healthy vision. Aim to be active for 30 minutes a day to feel the benefits, this will also get you away from the screens!

The world has changed, and while it seems we may be bound to our screens from morning through to night, we can start being more aware of what these amazing organs are going through and look after them like they deserve!" 

You will find a variety of articles, studies and recipe ideas within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues please take these into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter.

All the best Jan

35 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Great tips and advice. Thanks for sharing.
Enjoy your day!

laurie said...

great advice!

Ygraine said...

This is a really great post...the information here will be a real help to everyone who reads it.
Speaking personally, I honestly hadn't even considered the potential damage my eyes have been accumulating...the blurring I've been experiencing in recent months I had put down to simple eyestrain...only now I'm not so sure!
Oh thank you so much for these fabulous tips...I have taken note!

Have a fabulous weekend.:))

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...


Okay. We're off the morning cereal.

But now I have to worry about blue light!

Oh, there's always something.

My biggest issue, being in front of a computer all day, is not changing the focus (depth of field) often enough. Just glancing down the hall every few minutes can keep my eyes from going wacko.

Maybe a pair of those wacky yellow lenses they used to sell on mid-day television.

Adam said...

I wouldn't want to know the hours

Iris Flavia said...

That´s great advice, I didn´t know food has such an influence on the eyes!
Especially in winter I have to hydate my eys in the daytime and all year round for the night also - 17 years working at the pc! And I hate sunglasses. I know it´s dumb, but I wanna see "the real world".

Marco Luijken said...

Hello Jan,
It's good to see how bad screens are for your eyes.
Nice to focus on with this funny photo.

Greetings, Marco

Christine said...

Thanks for these smart tips Jan!

DUTA said...

I'll add to the above great tips, the following:
- luthein & zeaxanthine supplement in gel capsules form
- a bottle of 'computer eye relief' drops by Simalasan.

Chris Lally said...

Great advice, Jan!
We just picked up some blue light blocker glasses. Our eye doctor highly recommended them. I didn't know they existed.
Thanks for the great info, as always. Very timely.

Valerie-Jael said...

Some sound advice there, so many people spend too much time staring at the screen. Hugs, Valerie

William Kendall said...

Good recommendations!

Out on the prairie said...

I need to use them less but they always call at me. LOL

Teresa said...

Gracias por tan buenos consejos. Besitos.

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Jan,

Thank you for sharing this great advice.
I know I spend way too much time in front of the computer, phone etc and need to try and limit the time spent on them.
Happy weekend
Hugs
Carolyn

happyone said...

Very interesting and good advice. Thanks.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I read this with fascination. I knew that yellow is more difficult for people to see as they age, and that was why blue was so popular in dress apparel, but I had NO idea about the tv, computer, and phone screens. Just another reason I have never purchased a cell phone! Thanks for this very meaningful information, Jan.

Tom said...

...IU have my sunglasses on even of overcast days!

Conniecrafter said...

Good article, I try to look up from my computer every now and then when I know I will be on it for awhile, blog hopping mostly. My hubby works in front of a computer all day so he has bought those glasses and says he feels a lot better after using them, but he is good about getting up and walking away from the computer every hour. Oh the things we put our bodies through now is crazy.

Pam Jackson said...

Great tips...I for one prefer the laptop, my age iphone screens just don't get it! haha

Margaret-whiteangel said...

Good article.

peppylady (Dora) said...

I shut down all my device a lease one to two hours before I go to bed.
Coffee is on

Lady Fi said...

Good tips!

Beatrice Euphemie said...

All good advice! I try to limit my time, but sometimes I over-do. I will try to be more aware - thank you! x Karen

Linda said...

Good reminders!

Bob Bushell said...

Great tips Jan.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Tick to diet and tick to exercise.. looking after my eyes Jan ☺

Jenn Jilks said...

I don't have a smartphone, so it helps when I go outdoors for a walkabout!

sandy said...

skimmed over this but will read it better later ....very important subject. thanks.

Amy Purdy said...

I have recently started having issues with eye strain because of my heavy screen use. I have started limiting my time on my phone and computer, and only using them for short lengths of time before taking an eye break. I have noticed a small but good difference. I also had to recently start using reading glasses with books, but they don't seem to help with my vision on the screen.

Phil Slade said...

Good tips Jan. I do wonder how the new generation will cope. They spend lots more time on digital machines than the old ones. Maybe they will be able to go along to the nearest hospital and buy a new pair of eyes.

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful informative post about eye care!

Happy Weekend to you,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

DMS said...

Great tips! Now I need to move away from my screen for a bit. :)
~Jess

Magic Love Crow said...

Excellent post! Thank you Jan!

Elle R said...

The last couple years I've had to actively manage my evening/night electronic use because of the problems you mention:

1) My sleep quality decreased & I found it harder to fall asleep
2) Have various eye/head issues (eye strain, dry eyes, headaches)

Couple things I've done:
1) Stopped using electronics an hour before bed. This has helped BIG time.
2) Put blue light filters on all the things! Get started with these blue light filter reviews

In short, better sleep habits including using blue light filters helped me feel & sleep better. It's seriously crazy how much of an affect blue light can have on you.