March has been designated as “National Save Your Vision Month” to promote eye health. This year’s focus deals primarily with digital strain (blue light) and ensuring that you get a regular routine eye exam by a certified optometrist. We’ll also look at a few tips that should help ensure you keep your vision for as long as possible.
Digital Eye Strain
According to the North Carolina Optometric Society, Digital Eye Strain describes a group of eye and vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.
The average American worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home. To help alleviate digital eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time take a 20 second break to look at something 20 feet away.
The most common symptoms associated with digital eye strain include eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and neck and should pain. These symptoms may be caused by poor lighting, glare on digital screen, improper viewing distances, poor seating posture, uncorrected vision problems, or a combination therein.
ILA sells many Reticare screen protectors to help ease eye strain caused by blue light emitted from digital screens. These protectors not only safeguard the screen of your electronic device, it protects your eyes from glare and toxic light emanating from the display of your device. No matter what type device you utilize there is a screen protector available.
In addition to screen protectors, ILA offers many types of lighting choices to help alleviate eye strain due to poor lighting. One option is the OttLite Cobra Color Changing LED Lamp. This Ottlite is a color changing LED desk lamp that offers 3 levels of lighting, from warm light to cool light to natural daylight. This lamp is an excellent choice for people trying to avoid the higher blue light Kelvin temperatures often found in most LED lamps. With a choice of 3,000, 4,000 or 5,000 Kelvin temperatures, the user can use the lower settings and avoid the higher blue light choices.
Routine Eye Exams
Getting an eye exam once every one or two years can help identify vision problems early on and improve vision quality if you need prescription changes. Factors such as age, health, and a family history of vision problems may determine how often you need an eye exam. Many vision plans cover you for an annual comprehensive eye exam. Be sure to talk to your eye doctor to figure out how often your eyes need to be checked. If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, they may recommend more frequent exams.
At the beginning of an eye exam, your eye doctor will ask for your medical history and if you have been experiencing any vision problems. If you currently have glasses or contacts, be sure to bring them to the exam so your eye doctor can see if you need prescription changes.
A comprehensive eye exam can take an hour or more, depending on the doctor and the number and complexity of tests required to fully evaluate your vision and the health of your eyes. A few of the routine eye and vision tests you are likely to encounter are visual acuity tests, color blindness test, cover test (where one eye is covered at a time), ocular motility testing (eye movements), stereopsis test (depth perception), retinoscopy, refraction, and glaucoma testing.
Tips for Protecting Your Eye Health
It’s important to take steps to protect your sight. For 2020: Year of the Eye, the American Academy of Ophthalmology presents 20 tips to keep your eyes in top shape no matter what turns life takes. A quick overview from this list include good nutrition, wearing sunglasses, and wearing safety glasses to do dangerous tasks.
When it comes to diet more is learned every day about nutrition and eye health. Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach contain vitamins that nurture nerve tissue inside the eye. Orange vegetables such as carrots and squash also boost eye health. A diet rich in plant-based foods and low in saturated or animal fats is best. It’s also important to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Nature is also good for our health, whether exercising or quietly taking in the beauty. Most risks to eyes come from sunlight and allergic reactions to pollen. Whenever you’re heading into the sun, wear sunglasses — even in the winter. There are many choices out there when it comes to sunglasses. For example, the NoIR SpectraShield medium amber sunglasses offer 100 percent ultraviolet protection and 15 percent light transmission. This general-purpose filter provides good glare protection.
Safety glasses or other protective eyewear can shield your eyes from many hazards at home, at work, or at play. In and around the house cooking, yard work or gardening, cleaning and home improvement projects top the list of potential eye hazards. Did you know oven sprays and bleach-based cleaners can permanently damage the surface of the eye? In the garden, brimmed hats offer protection along with glasses to avoid getting poked in the eye by a twig or bush. Same goes for home improvement projects. Safety glasses can also be beneficial for people who work outdoors or with heavy equipment or chemicals which are all jobs that tend to get more injuries than office workers. Sports related injuries can also be curbed by utilizing this safety measure.