In this digital age, our eyes are exposed to digital devices like computer screens, phones, tablets and TVs all day long and those screens are mostly blue light. Blue light is damaging to the eyes because there’s no built-in filter in our eyes, allowing blue light to go straight to the light-sensitive retina and causing damage that can lead to degenerative conditions and vision loss.
Minimize blue light exposure by:
- Take a screen break every 20 minutes, look away for a few minutes to rest your eyes.
- Reduce glare on screens from windows or overhead lights.
- Use blue light filtering lenses in your glasses.
- Install a blue light filtering app on your digital devices.
- Take an exercise break. We should all aim to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, and it’s a great way to get away from screens.
- Avoid using screens for an hour or two before sleep. This light can also interfere with our natural sleep cycles.
You can also help maintain your eye health by eating right. All the blood vessels in the eyes need protection from food that comes from two specific antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin. Both of these are found in high concentrations in the macula, the small central part of your retina. The foods below are rich in eye-healthy nutrients.
Dark Leafy Greens: These antioxidants are primarily found in green leafy vegetables, with kale and spinach topping the list of lutein-rich foods.
Also try collard greens, broccoli, watercress, beet/turnip tops, Swiss chard and Brussels sprouts.
Colourful Fruits & Veggies: Focus on orange for lots of vitamin A and vitamin C! Eat peppers, carrots, sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, apricots, oranges and cantaloupe.
Healthy Fats: These fat-soluble nutrients are transported and absorbed best when paired a source of fats. Make sure to eat them with omega-3s and other healthy fats from oily fish (salmon), olive oil, seeds, nuts or avocado.
Other Ways to Maintain Eye Health
- Remember to blink. Blinking spreads hydrating oils and secretions over our eyeballs to keep them from feeling dry and uncomfortable.
- When outdoors, shield your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays by wearing protective sunglasses (even in winter!).
- Stop smoking. Cigarette smoke contains cyanide and other harmful substances that are damaging to the eyes.
For more on this topic, listen to my radio segment with Jerry Agar on NewsTalk 1010: