Our recent research found that British workers are spending 85% of their waking hours looking at a screen, whether at the office, at home or on their commute, and this can have significant health consequences, from headaches to blurred vision.
With so many people putting their eyes and wellbeing at risk, we’ve put together some simple tips on how you can keep them healthy.
1. Screen breaks
Too much screen time can have a detrimental effect on sleep. More than any other type of light, the blue light emitted from computer screens suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles.
We’d advise workers to follow the 20-20-20 rule, where you stare at something that is at least 20 metres away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. It’s an effective and simple way of giving your eyes the rest they need so that your sleep quality isn’t affected.
2. Not smoking
Both the act of smoking cigarettes and simply being surrounded by tobacco smoke can be harmful to your eyes and vision.
Smokers have a greater risk of developing numerous eye diseases, from cataracts to macular degeneration, a condition that affects the retina and reduces vision.
The chance of getting most of these ailments does, however, drastically reduce once someone gives up smoking, so your eyes will certainly thank you for quitting the habit.
It’s also worth trying to avoid being in the presence of tobacco smoke altogether, as the gas can worsen dry eye, especially for those who wear contact lenses.
3. Sun protection
Most people love spending time in the sun, but too much of it can be damaging to the eyes.
Sunlight is a form of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and it is absorbed by the cornea, lens and retina. The negative effects of this intake build up over a lifetime and can cause cataracts and skin cancers on the eyelids.
To help protect against such risks, try and wear sunglasses as much as possible, especially polarised, wraparound versions with high UV radiation protection. Wearing a hat is also advised, as this can shield the eyes from some of the rays.
4. Contact lens hygiene
Another of our studies recently found that more than three quarters (82%) of contact lens wearers in the UK practice bad contact lens hygiene, confessing to at least one risky habit (e.g. using someone else’s lenses, wearing the same pair for too long).
Improper contact lens use can lead to a variety of problems, from discomfort to serious infections.
Wearers should make sure they never swim, shower, sleep or play water sports in their lenses, and should not reinsert a dropped lens without cleaning it properly. Always check for damage on the lenses before inserting and always wash your hands thoroughly before handling them.
5. Regular eye tests
A significant amount of eye issues are avoidable if identified early enough. As such, it is crucial that you get your eyes and vision tested regularly - at least once every two years.
Tests can detect eye conditions before they develop into a more advanced stage and can even reveal wider health issues that can then be addressed.
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you can check if you are suitable for laser eye surgery here: https://www.optegra.com/treatments/laser-eye-surgery/am-i-suitable/