05 Aug Your Vision Matters
We tend to associate health problems with age. Fatigue, weak limbs, hearing loss and above all, deteriorating eyesight. Indeed, eye problems worsen fifteen-fold for older people aged 50 and above. However, “first world problems” driven by excessive use of technological gadgets has accelerated the deterioration of eye health among younger individuals.
Alarmingly, Singapore is among the world’s most vulnerable countries when it comes to eye disorders. 1 in 2 children develops myopia before the age of 12 while 4 in 5 will turn myopic by the time they turn 18. Coined by researchers as the Digital Eye Strain syndrome, prolonged digital screen time has led to a surge in vision-related problems and other types of discomfort including headaches, neck and shoulder ache.
You might expect eye strain symptoms to be obvious – watery eyes, dry eyes, blurred vision and so on. That is correct to some extent but not entirely. Experiences of headache, increased sensitivity to light and reduced concentration are also indications of eye fatigue.
Early Intervention is Key for Children
Gone were the days when parents could limit our screen time to an hour or less. With home-based learning and working becoming a social norm, it is impossible to unplug from our phones and laptops. In times where prolonged screen time is required to get things done, take intermittent breaks by looking out of the window or blinking more for a quick reset.
However when it comes to recreational screen time, in particular for younger children, parents should impose restrictions as early as possible.
Based on WHO guidelines, here is the recommended screen time for children:
- Babies – NO screen time! Avoid using your gadget as a pacifier for any crying baby next time.
- Children between 1 to 5 years old – No more than an hour of screen time.
- Children above 6 years old – About two hours of screen time, or slightly more where necessary.
As your children or young kin grow up, it will become an uphill task to limit their screen time. By imposing consistent limits from an early age, you can inculcate good habits and prevent them from getting too attached to the gadgets.
5 Tips to Rest Your Eyes
- Rest enough
Rest, that simple. Your eyes are working hard almost 24/7 except when you are asleep. It deserves 8 hours of daily rest and short intervals of break in between your day-long digital screen time. Remember, your eye power is not infinite.
- Go outdoors
Moderate exposure to natural light allows your eyes to see better and focus on things in the distance while getting your essential dosage of vitamin D. A word of caution – do avoid the glaring midday sun that can be too intense for your own good. An extra hour in the outdoors per week reduces the risk of myopia in a child by 14%. Hence, children are recommended to spend at least two to three hours outdoors a day.
- Exercise your eyes
Your body needs exercise, so do your eyes! It is something much easier than marathons and weights. Simply relax your eye muscles by rotating your eyeballs in a circular motion after staring at your screen for too long. Best thing? The next time you get caught for rolling your eyes at someone, you have a legitimate reason to save yourself. Winks.
Before you head off to work or sleep, put a warm towel over your eyes to improve blood circulation. Alternatively, rub both palms briskly to create heat and place them over your eyes. The second option is also practiced at the end of some yoga sessions to recharge yourself. Namaste.
- Eat well
Believe your parents when they say carrots are good for you! Specifically, your eyes. Fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamin A and C help to slow down macular degeneration and reduce the risk of cataracts. In addition, food and beverages that are rich in antioxidants such as Rejuvenate, Antioxidant Infused Shot can help to strengthen the posterior blood vessels around your eyes by improving blood circulation. Eat right for better eyes.
- Eye Treatment (The Free Way)
Going for a professional eye therapy sounds awesome, but we care for your penny as much as you do. Here is a method that takes only a few minutes and costs nothing. Find a small towel, cloth or two metal spoons and dip them into warm water. Avoid hot water as it might scar the tender skin around your eyes. Find a comfortable position, close your eyes and place the warm towel over it. Relax and breathe deeply for a few minutes. Ta da! You are ready to continue with your day’s tasks.
In essence, taking care of your eyes is a lifelong duty. Adopt good eye habits from young and you will be able to enjoy good eyesight for a long time. Why not unplug and open up your windows to enjoy the beautiful scenery beyond your screen?