Say “Eye Do” to Happy, Healthy Eyes
In support of Healthy Vision Month this May, we’re kickstarting The Yoga School’s new Self-care Series with eye care tips for a brighter future
Sunglasses aren’t just a great fashion accessory – more importantly, they also protect our eyes from harmful UV rays which may otherwise lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.
Our eyes are our most highly developed sensory organs, with a much larger part of our brain dedicated to vision, than to our sense of hearing, smell, taste, and touch, combined. So it’s important to take care of our peepers, just like how we take care of the rest of our body.
Many of us assume that failing eyesight is inevitable due to eye strain over the years, or quite simply, aging. But the good news is, a healthy lifestyle complemented with the right nutrition, can significantly reduce the risk of eye problems and age-related eye health decline by 25 percent.
According to VisionSave, a joint effort between Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), 80 percent of blindness is preventable or treatable. Make eye health a priority and follow these simple steps to protect your eyes and prevent potential vision loss:
TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS
Air-conditioning and long hours of computer use can result in dry eyes and blurry vision. “As a rule of thumb, take a five minute break for every 30 minutes of work,” says Dr Lee Hung Ming, Medical Director and Senior Consultant of Lee Hung Ming Eye Centre. “If your eyes feel dry and irritable, lubricant eye drops may provide soothing relief.”
A word of caution if you tend to apply eye drops more than six times throughout the day – many over-the-counter products for dry eye symptoms contain commonly used preservatives (such as benzalkonium chloride or BAK), which help products last longer once opened, but can exacerbate symptoms as frequent use can disrupt the tear film further. Those with established ocular surface disease (OSD, an umbrella term which includes dry eye, lid disease, conjunctivitis, and keratitis) are advised to use preservative free eye drops (available as single-dose units) for safe relief.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST
“Adjust the display settings on your computer so that the brightness of the screen is similar to that of your work environment, advises Dr Lee. “This reduces eyestrain resulting from extensive computer usage.”
Often times when we’re focused on work and concentrating hard, we also forget to blink. Blinking, however, is essential as it washes your eyes in naturally therapeutic tears. If your eyes start to feel dry and fatigued from staring too long at your computer screen, try practicing deep, wide yawns. This helps to relax the eyes and flush the tear ducts.
EAT RIGHT TO PROTECT YOUR SIGHT
Eating green, leafy vegetables and fruits may help in preventing age-related eye diseases and improve eyesight. The rich levels of lutein and zeaxanthin found in vegetables provide a good source of eye-friendly vitamin C. According to Dr Billy R. Hammond Jr., author of a study published in the Journal of Food Science, carotenoids found in many coloured fruits and vegetables have the ability to reduce discomfort from glare, enhance contrast and increase the visual range, and are thus beneficial for vision.
Research has also shown that there are eye health benefits from eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut. In fact, some studies have found that the consumption of fish oil can reverse dry eye (including conditions that are caused by spending too much time on the computer), so load up on oily fish which provide rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.