Vision Health Month

May is Healthy Vision Month, a national observance devoted to encouraging persons to make vision and eye health a priority.

With COVID lockdowns and limitations still taking place, a large majority of us are spending an extended amount of time staring at a computer, tablet, or phone screen: zooming with friends and family, checking out Facebook pages, shopping online, and participating in virtual learning. Global reports estimate that total Internet traffic grew by 40 to 60% during the spring 2020 global lockdown period.

We need to be careful, because prolonged screen time can have an effect on your eyes; leading to computer vision syndrome (CVS). Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods.

As you stare at the screen, your eyes have to focus and refocus all the time. Your eyes react to images constantly moving and changing, shifting focus, sending rapidly varying images to the brain. All of these things require a lot of effort from your eye muscles. When using the computer, we also tend to blink far less, which causes the eyes to dry out and blur your vision. The lighting in the room, and the screen position, also have an effect on your vision, as well as your entire body.

Quick Tips to Reduce CVS

  1. Try the 20/20/20 trick. Remember to look away from your screen every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.

  2. Be mindful of blinking. Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute, but when we’re on the computer, we only blink 5 times per minute

  3. Position your screen about an arm’s length from your eyes. For the best angle, the centre of the monitor, tablet or phone should be 20 to 28 inches from your eyes and 4 to 5 inches below eye level.

  4. Set colour and contrast tones to suit your eyes, and match the brightness of your screen and surroundings. Minimize glare by dimming the lights in the room, or positioning your screen so that it sits perpendicular to windows and other bright light sources.

  5. Even if you don’t need glasses or contacts for daily activities, you may need them for computer or device use. If you do wear glasses or contacts and need to tilt your head or lean toward the screen to see it clearly, your lens prescription may need to be adjusted.

  6. Limit your screen time. Be conscious of how much time you spend staring at a screen, and try to reduce it. Stop screen time activity at least 30 minutes before you go to bed in order to give your brain time to slow down.

It is also important to keep your body healthy, in order to keep your eyes healthy. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut can also help your eyes.

Exercise may help to prevent or control diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These diseases can lead to some eye or vision problems.

Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses. Sun exposure can damage your eyes and raise your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Smoking can also increase your risk of these two diseases, as well as damage to the optic nerve.

Vision is an important part of overall well-being. Get your eyes checked on a regular basis and reduce your screen time.

Get out and enjoy the beautiful Peachland view. Your eyes will thank you for it.

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