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I Wish I Knew These Tips on Choosing the Right Light Bulbs for Eye Health Earlier

I Wish I Knew These Tips on Choosing the Right Light Bulbs for Eye Health Earlier

There is no doubt that the focus on reducing energy consumption in the past decade has led to the increased use of fluorescent light bulbs over conventional incandescent bulbs. While there are definitely benefits to having your home and office equipped with efficient CFL bulbs, new research suggests that overdoing it can lead to adverse effects on your vision.

Indeed, one study out of the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, Australia, found that overexposure to “cool” or “bright white” fluorescent bulbs in office buildings, markets, schools, and other commercial areas can lead to several vision-afflicting maladies.

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They concluded that you are putting yourself at the greatest risk if you are exposed to this kind of lighting for 45 hours a week or more. Once you pass that threshold, you’re increasing your risk of acquiring not only cataracts, but diseases like pterygia, which causes a non-cancerous tissue to grow on the whites of your eyes, eventually obscuring your vision.

What is it that causes “cool” and “bright white” fluorescent bulbs to have this effect? It is the excess amount of UV radiation they emit, which equals or exceeds the amount contained within sunlight. If you spend enough time in this kind of light, which many people do (especially in office spaces), you increase your risk of causing “”irreparable damage to [your eyes],” according to this study. Many people are already at risk of developing cataracts as they age, and increased use of high UV fluorescent bulbs has only made the situation worse.

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Indeed, one of the coauthors of this study, Helen Walls, states that “exposure to ‘cool white’ fluorescents for 45 hours per week throughout your working life may increase your risk of getting cataracts at age 50 by between 2 and 12 percent.”

Remember: this kind of damage is caused by indirect exposure to the light emitted by bright fluorescents. You probably increase your risk exponentially if you stare at them directly with your naked eyes. I add that because, while most of us are told not to look directly at the sun, we’re never really told not to look directly at a light bulb.

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For an outline of the light bulbs you should avoid, light bulbs you should buy, and steps you can take to protect yourself, read on.

Light Bulbs To Avoid

  • High efficiency “cool” and “bright white” fluorescent bulbs. They usually emit a slightly bluish light along with copious amounts of UV radiation, and are often used in schools and offices.

Light Bulbs To Buy

  • Traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • “Warm white” fluorescent CFLs, which mimic the glow of an incandescent bulb while still being energy efficient. Additionally, they do not emit as much UV radiation as their brighter counterparts.
  • LED bulbs.
  • Halogen bulbs are also an option in special cases. They are bright enough for most tasks, do not emit UV radiation, and are only slightly more inefficient than CFLs.

For a look at how much these bulbs cost, check this useful site (this one is good too). Typically speaking though, LEDs are the most expensive but use the least amount of energy. Flourescents are much cheaper but not nearly as efficient as LEDs. Incandescents cost the least up front, but use the most energy.

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Steps You Can Take

  • Don’t replace all of your incandescent bulbs at home with “bright white” fluorescents. As the researchers note in their study, this only increases the time that your eyes are exposed to excess UV radiation during the week.
  • Use natural lighting when you can, especially while at work. Most buildings have UV resistant glass installed, so the light filtered in through your window is healthier for you than the fluorescent light above you or on your desk.
  • If you work outside, wear sunglasses at all times.
  • If you work inside, consider purchasing glasses that protect you from UV light, such as these.

The main takeaway here is that you can drastically improve your eye health by taking a few precautionary measures both at work and at home. Trust me, your eyes will thank you as you get older!

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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