Healthy Vision Month: Protecting Your Eyes
It’s easy to take our eyesight for granted. But if we’re not careful about protecting our eyes, we could be at risk for serious vision issues like UV damage, cataracts and macular degeneration.
To keep your vision strong and your eyes bright and healthy, follow these great tips for protecting your eyes at home, work and outside here in San Diego!
Protecting Your Eyes Indoors at Home and at Work
Although some changes in vision are inevitable as we age, there are still many ways you can proactively protect your eyesight against damage and deterioration.
When you are indoors at home or at work, consider doing the following:
- Put up some distance: Position your computer monitors, TVs and tablets at least 20 inches away from your face in order to reduce eye fatigue. You can also practice the “20-20-20 Rule” throughout the day: Look away from your screen every 20 minutes and stare at something 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
- Adjust lighting and glare: Bright light from outdoors or harsh indoor lighting can contribute to eye strain. When you’re working in front of a computer, use blinds or window coverings that filter outdoor light. If possible, avoid working under overhead fluorescent lights; instead, use a floor or table lamps with incandescent bulbs. Glare filters that go over your digital screens can also help.
- Get computer glasses: The blue light in electronic screens can bring about eye fatigue and strain. You may want to try an inexpensive pair of computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light by increasing contrast.
- Wash hands regularly: This is a good rule of thumb for every aspect of health, but also for healthy vision! We touch or rub our eyes an average of three times an hour. If we’re doing this with unclean hands, our chances of getting sick – or a nasty eye infection – increase significantly.
- Use drops: Keeping your eyes peeled in front of screens for the majority of the day can seriously dry out your eyes, leading to irritation and redness. Keep them moist, as necessary, with high-quality eye drops.
- Turn on lights when reading and watching TV: Always use bright, focused light when you are reading or doing any activity that requires strong, clear focus. Whenever you’re watching TV, be sure to turn on some dim ambient lighting in the room. Watching TV in total darkness can increase eye strain, leading to headaches and fatigue.
Protecting Your Eyes Outdoors
- Always wear sunglasses: They’re not just a fashion statement – sunglasses protect your eyes against destructive UV rays. Look for sunglasses that cover your entire eye socket and also offer 100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
- And wear a hat too: Why do you need a hat when you’re already wearing sunglasses? Because it shades the entire top half of your face, including the delicate skin on your eyelids that sunglasses sometimes miss – protecting you against skin cancer.
- Put on safety goggles when working outside: Wear safety goggles whenever you work outside, whether it’s mowing the lawn, trimming hedges or gardening. This guards you against serious eye injuries due to machinery or sharp plants, as well as shields you from many airborne irritants.
- Use goggles when swimming: Chlorine, salt water and contaminants in pools, lakes and oceans can inflame eyes, even if you’re squeezing them shut when you go underwater. Be sure to use goggles every time you’ll be dunking under for a swim.
- Don’t rub: It can be tempting to rub your eyes, especially when you’re outdoors, but don’t do it. Rubbing your eyes deposits all kinds of irritants like dust, pollen and sand that can cause infection. If your eyes are irritated from being outside, go inside and take a break, gently flushing each eye with cool tap water and patting dry with a clean towel. Finish up with eye drops to keep eyes lubricated.