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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 May 21, 2020

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

1. The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

2. Whole30

The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

During the month you are eliminating:

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  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • legumes
  • grains
  • dairy
  • soy

Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

Finding Out How Food Impacts You

Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

3. The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes & nuts
  • Replacing butter with olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Moderate amounts of red wine

Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

4. The Alkaline Diet

The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

The Big Takeaway:

Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

Reference

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