Health

Set your sights on protecting your vision

Simple tips to keep your eyes healthy

Your eye muscles are probably the busiest muscles in the body, moving and twitching more than an estimated 100,000 times a day.

These peepers work hard to process the world around you, and it is time to treat them with care.

Singapore may have established itself as the myopia capital of the world, but there are still steps you can take to protect your vision and ensure it doesn't become worse.

Here are some easy ways to improve your eyesight:

Get enough sleep

Here is a good reason to hit the sack earlier. Sleeping allows your eyes to fully rest and recharge after an entire day of strain.

If you shortchange yourself of sleep at night, you risk developing dry eyes, which can lead to pain, itchiness and blurry vision.

In more severe cases, you may also experience optic nerve damage due to strain and poor blood circulation in the eyes.

Take a break

Our fast pace of living means we are constantly checking our devices. The typical office worker's eyes go through a lot in a day, like spending eight to 10 hours staring at the screen.

On the way home, it is normal to scroll through your social media feed while commuting or engage in a few rounds of Tsum Tsum.

Post-dinner, you may veg out on the couch and catch up on the latest Netflix episodes.

Let your eyes rest by cutting down on screen time and closing your eyes for a short while or looking out the window once every 20 minutes.

Reduce screen brightness

By default, most devices tend to have high screen brightness. This can cause unnecessary strain on the eyes and even lead to headaches.

Check the brightness setting on the screen and tone it down.

Also, your eyes should be level with the top of the monitor when using computers or laptops so that you are looking down slightly at the screen. This cuts glare for a more comfortable working environment.

Don't use phone in the dark

If you have a habit of scrolling through Instagram while lying in bed, it is time to stop.

Using your devices in the dark creates added strain for your eyes because of the glare.

In two case studies published in The New England Journal of Medicine, it was found that viewing a smartphone screen in the dark just before going to bed resulted in temporary blindness.

Researchers think this happens when your eyes don't adapt well to the brightness of the screen and the subsequent lack of light after, causing your eyes to go "blind" for a few minutes.

Nourish with antioxidants

Load your plate with nutrient-dense food for healthier eyes, antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to lower the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Find them in dark green leafy vegetables such as kale or spinach.

The old wives' tale about eating carrots for better eyesight holds some truth too, orange-hued fruits and vegetables are high in beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A and an essential nutrient that helps the eye function well.

Invest in sunglasses

Ever noticed that your eyes feel extra tired or gritty after walking out to lunch under the blazing sun? It is because your peepers can get sunburned too.

Put on a pair of shades that block both UVA and UVB rays. This way, you will protect your eyes from the glare plus you won't be straining to see.

This article was first published on www.shape.com.sg.

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