|Photo credit: flickrPrince on Flickr|
There. Don’t your eyes feel better?
It’s “Save Your Vision” week in the US, and while most of us turn a blind eye to our health for the sake of computer screens, TVs, and smartphones, it’s time to take a step back – literally and figuratively.
Take a look at these facts:
- The average American adult spends more than eight hours in front of a computer, TV or other screen.
- Nearly 90% of people who spend three hours or more in front of a screen report problems related to eye strain.
- Optometrists report more than 10 million eye exams are done each year because of computer-related problems.
If those numbers make you perk up in your chair, good. The American Optometric Association recommends good posture as part of maintaining an eye-healthy environment at your computer. The AOA also recommends keeping the screen 20-28 inches away from your eyes, and 4-5 inches below horizontal eye level. As you did a few seconds ago, take breaks, too. For every two continuous hours of computer use, get away for 15 minutes, or try the 20-20-20 rule: 20 seconds of looking at something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes.
There are, of course, other ways to be kind to your eyes. Researchers have long recommended a diet rich in beta-carotene, which means orange-colored fruits and vegetables (carrots – it’s not a myth!), as well as certain dark green vegetables, like spinach and kale. You should also protect your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses, and avoid developing chronic diseases like diabetes, which can affect your eyes. One other recommendation that’s gaining ground is taking omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and fish oil supplements. A study published in Science Translational Medicine found that mice ingesting omega-3 fatty acids showed less abnormal blood vessel growth, which could be a factor in worsening eyes.
Whatever changes you might make in your daily habits, those small changes could make a big difference in your eye health. Risking one more lame pun, I’d say the facts are clear for all to see.