We rely on our visual system to help us perceive the world around us through visual cues that are then sent to the brain for interpretation. These cues include color, shapes, size, distance, depth, movement and temperature. The eyes process tons of information every day, and these information mostly come from digital screens at home or at work. People no longer leave their home without smartphones, and so many of us use computers at work that digital eye strain has become a major job-related issue. When your vision becomes progressively blurred, it can affect most of your activities.
If you’re staring at a screen all day, you may develop other vision-related ailments, such as eye fatigue, dry eyes, sore eyes, and double vision. Long periods of screen exposure not only affect the eyesight, but other parts of your body as well. For instance, headaches can be caused by blurred vision. Protect your eyes from strain with the following tips:
- Practice good phone and computer habits – These days, you won’t find anyone who isn’t looking into some sort of screen, be it a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The significant amount of time spent exposing your eyes to artificial blue light is a major driver of blurred or impaired vision. It’s important to take frequent breaks by blinking more often and looking away from the screen for two to three minutes for every 15 to 20 minutes of screen time. In addition, you can adjust the brightness, text size, and color temperature of your phone or laptop to become less intense and glaring to the eyes. You may also upgrade the display to a clear resolution to help avoid eye strain.
- Adjust your lifestyle habits – What you do to your eyes every day will ultimately affect their performance. When you’re outside, your eyes may be exposed to harmful rays of sunlight. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, or you can opt for eyeglasses with anti-glare lenses. When indoors, be sure to have proper lighting for when you’re reading or writing.
- Eat foods that are good for the eyes – Carotenoids such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and astaxanthin are compounds that promote eye and vision health. They can be found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, as well as red, yellow or orange ones like carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and corn. Astaxanthin is a natural red pigment that can even be found in some seafood such as salmon and shrimp.
- Get a comprehensive eye exam – Just as you need to routinely visit your dentist to keep your teeth healthy, it is important to have a routine eye checkup, especially if you have a job that requires you to look into a computer screen for hours, to determine if your eyes are still in optimal health. You can also ask your healthcare professional on how you can further take care of your eyes and vision.
Did you know that smoking is bad for the eyes as well? Cigarette-smoking produces cyanide, which can be damaging to the eyes.