Mobile phones have become an indispensable aspect of modern life. There are Facebook posts waiting for your reaction, the enemy’s base still needs to be destroyed, many videos to watch, and maybe even keeping in contact with family or work. The amount of time we spend staring at the small screen is increasing with the development of improved technology and the proliferation of apps. There is growing evidence leading to the inescapable conclusion that increased time spent interacting with our mobile phones is leading to widespread vision problems. Let’s take a closer look at the dynamics and what you can do to better protect your eyes.
A Forbes article cites mounting research indicating that myopia (or nearsightedness) is a rapidly spreading global epidemic among the youth. The article further states that in the United States, prevalence of myopia was 25% from 1971 to 1972. But from 1999 to 2004, the rate doubled to 42% with double-digit increases across every age bracket.
Filipinos are the world’s most active internet users, spending a whopping 10 hours and two minutes online each day according to the 2019 Digital Report of social media management firm Hootsuite and creative agency We Are Social. Because of longer screen time, especially among the youth, Dr. Douglas Lazzaro, a professor and chairman of the SUNY Downstate Hospital Department of Ophthalmology in Brooklyn, New York predicted that we’re going to have a generation of people dealing with all sorts of eye problems, ranging from eye strain to retinal damage.
Proper eye care is not just for Boomers. If you believe the old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, then Millennials and Gen Z can benefit more from knowing how to take care of the eyes properly. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to maintaining good eyesight.
Proper Eye Care Dos
1. Give your eyes a break and do the 20-20-20 rule.
When using a computer, laptop, or mobile phone, make it a habit to rest your eyes every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is a simple step with positive impact – the refocusing reminds your eyes that there are things to see more than two feet away.
2. Do wear some eye protection.
Use sunglasses that block UVA and UVB radiation when going out, and wear safety glasses or goggles when playing sports or doing repair and construction work. Wearing blue-light blocking glasses if you work on your computer for long hours also helps prevent eye strain and other blue light-related problems. Vision Express exclusively offers BLUE ZERO LUTINA LENSES, a blue light blocking coat that is 94% more effective than other brands.
3. Do practice healthy habits.
Your eyes are part of your body, so what you eat and do affects them. Best foods for eye health include fish which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A-rich carrots and sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables. Getting physically active lowers the risk of health conditions that can cause poor vision and eye concerns such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
4. Do get your eyes checked at least once a year even when your vision is normal.
Some eye disorders don’t have any symptoms on their earlier stages like glaucoma, an eye disorder that damages the optic nerve, and macular degeneration, which is caused by damaged retina. Diabetes and high blood pressure can also be detected during an eye exam.
5. Do wash your hands regularly.
Remember that your hands are one of the dirtiest parts of your body. Whether you use contact lens or not, your hands often find their way to your eyes so it’s safer to keep your hands clean at all times to prevent eye infection.
Proper Eye Care Don’ts
1. Don’t smoke.
Smoking increases your risk for acquiring eye disorders like cataract, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and optic nerve problems.
2. Don’t rub your eyes too much.
Though it seems harmless, rubbing your eyes too often or too hard can cause eye damage. It’s more dangerous when you do it with unclean hands as this can lead to conjunctivitis, or when you have pre-existing eye problems as it may worsen your condition.
3. Don’t work under poor lighting.
Your eyes need to work harder when there’s little light around. This gets your eyes tired more quickly and easily, resulting in eyestrain and eye-related headache.
4. Don’t expose your eyes to too much light.
On the other hand, too much light is also potentially harmful. Glare happens when your eyes are unable to manage the amount of light entering them. Therefore, avoid staring at the sun and other bright light sources such as headlights and outdoor LED displays. Also control the brightness of your TV, computer, and mobile phone screens.
5. Don’t forget to remove your contact lenses before you sleep.
Studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that wearing contact lenses while sleeping increases your chance of getting eye infection by six to eight times. While you’re at it, CDC also suggests that you always use fresh solution for your contact lenses and don’t use water on them.
Start early. These basic proper eye care tips can go a long way.
“Better late than never” doesn’t really apply when it comes to health concerns, especially those that affect your eyesight. After all, how can you browse those cat memes, watch Netflix, share messages, and play games online when your eyes don’t work properly anymore?
Healthy vision is not just crucial to sustain our digital and social media life. It also helps us live better by allowing us to perform almost all our daily tasks easily and enjoy the beautiful things this world has to offer. No matter what your age, knowing how to care for the eyes shouldn’t be overlooked. Practice proper eye care now, and your future self will thank you later.
Vision Express is your eye stylist and eye specialist. Get your FREE 7-Step Eye Exam today and find the right eyewear that matches your needs and style with our wide selection of international brands and different designs.
Howe, Neil. (2015, November 30). The Eye Care Industry Focuses on Boomers –and Millennials. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2015/11/30/the-eye-care-industry-focuses-on-boomers-and-millennials/#3beebabb3551
Dumlao-Abadilla, Doris. (2019, February 1). At 10 Hours, 2 Minutes a Day, Filipinos Spend Most Time Online. Retrieved from https://business.inquirer.net/264438/at-10-hrs-2-mins-a-day-filipinos-spend-most-time-online
Khan, Amir. (2014, January 8). How Technology is Hurting Your Eyes. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/how-technology-is-hurting-your-eyes.aspx
National Eye Institute. (2019, June 26). Keep Your Eyes Healthy. Retrieved from https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/healthy-vision/keep-your-eyes-healthy
Villines, Zawn. (2018, March 17). Top 10 Foods for Healthy Eyes. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321226.php
Zimney, Ed. (2009, January 13). Four Reasons to Get Your Eyes Checked Even If You See Perfectly. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/zimney-health-and-medical-news-you-can-use/four-reasons-to-get-your-eyes-checked-even-if-you-see-perfectly/
Boyd, Kierstan. (2019, April 19). Smoking and Eye Disease. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/smokers