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20 Essential Hacks To Maintain Healthy Eyes In The Digital Age

20 Essential Hacks To Maintain Healthy Eyes In The Digital Age

We all realize the importance of staying healthy although whether we are really inclined to make necessary sacrifices in order to stay healthy is a completely different story. To our own levels of motivation and application, we resort to working out, balancing our diets, maintaining healthy lifestyle and visiting doctors regularly, all to remain healthy. And equally, we don’t want to be blind. Vision is probably the most important amongst our senses. But do we realize the importance of having good eye health, as much as having sound overall health? Most of us do not care about it, as long as our eyes can see.

For most of us, having healthy eyes means being able to see and for some more, being able to see without having to put glasses on. But, there are so many types of eye-related hazards like astigmatism, conjunctivitis, cataract, dry eyes, glaucoma and others, unknown to many of us, some of which can even end up claiming our sight. In this digital age, our eyes are having to cope with maximum level of stresses, as we’re always focusing our attention on all sorts of screens. This makes our eyes much more vulnerable to complications. So, we need to be careful to protect our eyes and thus live a joyful life. Below are twenty tips which will surely help us avoid most of the eye problems, if not all, provided we practice them on a regular basis.

1. Examine eyes regularly.

Our eyes could be seeing everything properly and we might not be experiencing any significant problem with our eyes. But, they could be suffering from problems like dryness, glaucoma or macular degeneration, the problems which often do not have any warnings. So, it’s wise to examine our eyes regularly by visiting the ophthalmologist. This will help us know if our eyes are really well and if there are any issues, we will know them early so that they can be easily dealt with. An anually complete eye examination is highly recommended to maintain healthy eyes.

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    2. Be open with the medical practitioner.

    Just visiting the ophthalmologist often isn’t enough to maintain healthy eyes. Medical examinations should be accompanied with our frankness. Most of us like to believe that our eyes are perfect. So we try to hide facts as much as we can so that the doctor won’t be able to identify the problems with our eyes. But this must be avoided completely as by hiding facts, we won’t be able to achieve the most from medical examinations. We should provide the doctor with complete information in regards to how we’re feeling as well as full details of our own as well as our family’s health history.

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      3. Stock saline solution at home.

      Sometimes, our eyes may come in contact with soaps, cleansers and some chemicals. The best thing to do in that case as a preliminary remedy is to rinse the eyes thoroughly with saline solution. For soaps and cleaners, it is enough to rinse the eyes thoroughly with saline for 10 to 15 minutes. But for chemicals, it might not be enough. In that case, especially if you experience irritation, you should better visit the eye doctor. So stock your medical kit with enough of saline solution.

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        4. Drink plenty of water.

        Consumption of a sufficient amount of water is also very important to maintain healthy eyes. This helps to keep the eyes hydrated. Saline solution also helps in keeping eyes hydrated but water consumption is a much easier and risk-free way to do the same thing. Specially alkaline ionized drinking water is more beneficial because it has anti-oxidant properties, enhances the immune system and improves the absorption and benefits of vitamins, which help in eye health. Ionized and safe alkaline drinking water can be obtained easily at home and at offices nowadays thanks to water ionizer from companies such as Bawell.

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          5. Maintain air quality at home and office.

          In the winter, we often use heating systems in homes and offices which create dry air. Prolonged exposure to dry air leads to hazards such as dryness of eyes, irritation and itches. The best way to prevent this without turning off the heater is to use a portable humidifier to keep the air moist, which will help in the prevention of eye irritation caused by dryness. Besides, the air inside the house and workplaces also should be clean so that there’s no chance of irritants contaminating our eyes.

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            6. Eat your way to good vision.

            Proper diet is also very important to maintain healthy eyes and for having good vision. One should eat lots of green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard greens and kale, which help avoid macular degeneration. Blueberries meanwhile help in the reduction of eye fatigue and apricots, which are rich in beta carotene and lycopene, promote good vision. Tea helps to deter cataracts. Often, we also need to take supplements such as vitamins. It is advisable to turn to them only after consultation with doctors.

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              7. Quit smoking.

              Medical researches suggest that smoking makes individuals more likely to get cataracts, optic nerve damage, and macular degeneration. So, it’s best to quit smoking as soon as possible, if you haven’t been able to avoid it completely firsthand. But it’s not the easiest thing to do for those who have taken it up. They need to try harder and harder considering the risks they’re putting their eyes in.

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                8. Wear safety glasses.

                Different kind of safety glasses are available, suitable for different situations and purposes. We need to be serious about using them for safety of our eyes. UV filtering sunglasses are useful while going out in the sun. They protect our eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays, which can otherwise contribute to cataracts. Meanwhile, while we’re working with hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, simple protective goggles will be enough to protect our eyes. On the other hand, players of certain sports such as ice hockey, racquetball, cricket and lacrosse are highly prone to eye injury. They need to wear protective helmets or goggles while playing.

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                  9. Wear the glasses and lenses right.

                  Wearing glasses and lenses isn’t enough to maintain healthy eyes. We should also be careful about wearing them right. Wearing glasses and lenses incorrectly doesn’t just reduce benefits but in some cases it can even lead to complications. To ensure we are wearing appropriate visual aids, we need to visit doctors regularly to check if our aids need to be updated and if they meet our requirements. Similarly, contact lenses need to be replaced every two to three months and shouldn’t be worn more than 18 hours continuously. We also need to be careful to keep the contact lenses clean.

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                    10. Give your eyes many breaks from screens.

                    We should not stress our eyes with prolonged exposure to computer, TV and mobile screens. We should be particularly careful about computer screens as we stand closer to them and they have extra glare. People often blink less while looking at the screens causing dry eyes as a result. So conscious efforts should be made to blink every 30 seconds. Besides, the 20-20-20 rule is important in the case of computer use, which suggests to look 20 feet or more away every 20 minutes more than 20 seconds.

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                      11. Blink more often.

                      Blinking on a regular basis is also very important for the health of eyes. As suggested in the earlier point, it helps in the prevention of dry eyes. Besides, constantly staring at an object without blinking also stresses the eyes and in the long run, leads to defects of vision such as myopia and hypermetropia. So we need to keep blinking on a constant basis.

                      12. Give your eyes proper rest.

                      The major reason behind our eyes suffering from defects is that we exhaust them. So the best way to ensure that your eyes are in good operational health is to rest them appropriately and ensure they aren’t being put under too much of stress. For this we need to have enough sleep. Eyes need to be given regular breaks from screens. We should also not involve in straining activities like working on a computer, reading, writing, etc. to the point that our eyes experience discomforts.

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                        13. Put cucumber on your eyelids.

                        It’s beneficial to press cold cucumber slices gently against eyelids for around 10 minutes, especially before going to sleep at night. This particularly helps to prevent puffiness. Besides, it also helps to keep the eyes relaxed and soothed. The idea behind the use of cucumbers is that they contain ascorbic acid and caffeic acid, which prevent water retention and inflammation. So it’s wise to use them whenever we feel our eyes are stressed.

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                          14. Get the light right.

                          Working in appropriate light conditions also provides a major boost for the well-being of eyes. We should not read in dim light for prolonged periods of time as it leads to eye strain. We should also ensure that the light in the room is sufficient. Extra care also needs to be taken to prevent frequent exposure to harmful high energy blue light and UV rays.

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                          15. Do not look at bright light directly.

                          We should never focus our eyes on the sun or any other bright sources of light directly as it can cause temporary and permanent damage to our eyes. Bright light causes gradual oxidation and deterioration of the macula and leaves our eyes more susceptible to macular degeneration, issues with glare, and contrast sensitivity. For these reasons we should avoid looking at bright light directly and those people who work out in the sun and are exposed for longer durations to bright light need to protect their eyes appropriately against this hazardous light.

                          16. Practice eye exercises.

                          Exercises and yogas are great for eyes. They help to keep the eyes relaxed, free of strain and fully operational. Doing several sets of exercises on a daily basis can also help avoid defects of vision, prevent dryness and thus keep the eyes in good health. Some of the popular and beneficial eye exercises are zooming, resting the eyes, rolling the eyes, beads on a string and eye squeeze.

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                            17. Maintain overall health of the body as well.

                            Overall body health is also an important aspect for the health of our eyes. Several types of body ailments directly and indirectly lead to defects of vision and problems with eyes. For example, if we maintain a healthy body weight, the chances of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol level all are significantly reduced. All of these conditions can lead to vision loss, and in particular diabetes. Statistics suggest that diabetes is the number one cause for vision loss in the working-age population in the United States. Furthermore, by controlling diabetes we can also reduce the chances of developing retinopathy.

                            18. Use these apps and software.

                            As mentioned earlier in this article, computers and mobile devices are one of the important causes for vision problems in these days. But it doesn’t always have to be so. Our eyes suffer more from our carelessness than from computers and mobile devices themselves. If we’re careful, we can even use them for improving our eye health and not just for preventing their deterioration. Some of the popular and useful apps and software for maintaining the health of eyes are Eyeleo, Workrave, PC Work Break, Eye Trainer and EVO.

                            19. Practice workplace safety.

                            Some of our jobs are risky and place the eyes at a certain level of vulnerability. So, it’s quite important to practice workplace safety to ensure our eyes will remain healthy over the coming years. The jobs which in particular put our eyes under considerable risk are carpentry, mining, plumbing, auto repairing, computer-related jobs and welding. People working in these fields need to choose appropriate safety measures for their eyes so that foreign particles do not enter the eyes and risks for the eyes are negated.

                            20. Fall in love with your eyes.

                            Well, the ultimate way to have healthy eyes and ensure they’re fine over the years is to love them. The earlier points are highly important and if we follow them, we will be able to have healthy eyes almost all the time. But how can we be motivated and determined about following them? That can be assured only if we realize the importance of having healthy eyes and try to avoid activities and habits that have detrimental effects on them.

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                              Featured photo credit: Eye Doctor via dillardeyeclinic.com

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                              Nabin Paudyal

                              Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                              Published on November 14, 2018

                              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                              Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                              With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                              For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                              In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                              Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                              Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                              It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                              For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                              Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                              Symptoms of Fatigue

                              Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                              • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                              • mental blocks
                              • lack of motivation
                              • headache
                              • dizziness
                              • muscle weakness
                              • slowed reflexes and responses
                              • impaired decision-making and judgement
                              • moodiness, such as irritability
                              • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                              • reduced immune system function
                              • blurry vision
                              • short-term memory problems
                              • poor concentration
                              • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                              Causes of Fatigue

                              The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                              • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                              • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                              • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                              • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                              Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                              Medical Causes of Fatigue

                              If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                              Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                              Anemia

                              Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                              Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                              There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                              Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                              This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                              Diabetes

                              Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                              Sleep Apnea

                              Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                              Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                              Thyroid disease

                              An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                              Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                              • Lack of sleep
                              • Too much sleep 
                              • Alcohol and drugs 
                              • Sleep disturbances 
                              • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                              • Poor diet 

                              Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                              • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                              • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                              • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                              • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                              Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                              Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                              • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                              • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                              • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                              How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                              Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                              1. Tell The Truth

                              Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                              To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                              Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                              The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                              One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                              • How you feel
                              • What time of day it is
                              • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                              • How your mind and body reacts

                              This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                              2. Reduce Your Commitments

                              When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                              If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                              When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                              Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                              3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                              If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                              Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                              If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                              Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                              Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                              4. Express More Gratitude

                              Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                              It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                              Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                              5. Focus On Yourself

                              Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                              There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                              But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                              We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                              6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                              Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                              Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                              The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                              Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                              7. Take a Power Nap

                              When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                              Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                              This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                              8. Take More Exercise

                              The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                              Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                              The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                              You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                              9. Get More Quality Sleep

                              To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                              Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                              My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                              10. Improve Your Diet

                              Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                              Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                              On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                              To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                              Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                              Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                              11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                              Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                              When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                              Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                              My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                              12. Get Hydrated

                              Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                              Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                              If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                              The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                              The Bottom Line

                              These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                              If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                              Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                              Reference

                              [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                              [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                              [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                              [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                              [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                              [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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