Did you know that 1 out of every 8 people in the United States has a common eye disease? That’s 38 million Americans, and the number is projected to increase to 56 million by 2030. In the digital age, keeping your eyes safe is harder than ever. Many of us spend our entire day on the computer and other devices, from smartphones to tablets.
This often leads to headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes, and even nearsightedness. However, there are a few key ways that you can improve your health and environment for optimum protection of your eyesight.
1. Change Your Diet
There are many foods that can increase eye health. These include oily fish, broccoli, eggs, fruit, and greens. Fruit and veggies in particular contain antioxidants that prevent damage to your eyes. One especially helpful antioxidant is lutein. This is found in kale, cress, leeks, and spinach. Dark leafy greens also contain omega-3 fatty acids, particularly spinach. In addition, salmon is very high in omega-3 fatty acids. Working these foods into your diet will improve your eyesight and prevent damage in the long term.
2. Take a Break
If you must spend your day staring at a computer screen, the 20-20-20 rule is a great way to keep your eyesight safe. For this, you simply take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to look at something that is 20 feet away. You should also be aware of the low radiation frequency that is found in computers and can harm your eyes. Flat screen and LCD monitors are much better for your eyesight than older models.
3. Change Your Environment
Another way to protect your eyes from technology is to change the layout of your work environment. You should set your screen to the proper brightness and contrast to avoid eye strain. You can also switch your settings to a reflective lighting scheme if you must read for a long period of time on the computer. When using the computer, you should sit 20-26 inches from the screen and position the center 4-6 inches below your eyes so that you are looking downward. The top of your screen should be little farther away than the bottom, and you can also adjust text size to avoid squinting.
4. There’s an App For That
There are many apps for cell phones and tablets that protect your eyesight as well. The Eye Reader for iPhone illuminates the page and can magnify it up to five times. There is also a Vision Test app for the iPhone that will measure your far field vision, color accuracy, and visual perception. This app can also help you find an eye doctor.
5. Talk to Your Doctor
Finally, you should get regular eye exams to make sure your eyesight is doing well. This is especially important if poor eyesight or eye conditions run in your family, as they are often hereditary. Your doctor can give you a dilated eye exam to check for disease.
For more information about eyesight health and protection in the digital world, check out this infographic.