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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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