Living in a digital world adds enormous stress on our eyes that if ignored will prematurely age and damage our eyes.
Imagine lying in the direct sun, day after day, without sunscreen. Your skin would inevitably burn, itch, dry out and eventually it would be left much that vulnerable to disease. Well this is what is happening to our eyes when we expose it to hours of blue light and glare on our phones and computers without the proper care and protection.
The pain that happens to our eyes when staring at computer and phone screens is similar to what happens to wrists and hands with carpal tunnel syndrome. These are both repetitive motion injuries and for our eyes, when they follow the same path over and over they become more strained.
Working on a computer or staring at a phone means our eyes have to focus and refocus all the time while also moving back and forth to read. Also you may have to look down and then back up to type while the entire time your eyes react to the changing images on the screen so your brain can process what you are seeing and we do all this without blinking. This requires tremendous effort from our eye muscles and to make matters worse, unlike a book, our screens add contrast, flicker, and glare.
If you have dry, watery, itchy, gritty and red eyes or are noticing dark circles, more squinting, blurry vision or sensitivity to outdoor light it is time to yield to your body’s needs and take the necessary steps to soothe your eyes and give yourself some time off screen.
When I was seven, I was diagnosed with toxoplasmosis in my right eye. This infectious disease happened when a parasite from a fluffy animal I was cuddling went into my eye and when it died, it burst and left a scar on my retina. Because of this I have no peripheral vision in that eye and thus am “legally blind”.
My brother and sister have detached retinas, my mom wore glasses and my Grandpa Milt went blind in his later years. It was very important to my mother that we knew our body’s weaknesses so we were more mindful to our individual needs. When it came to our eyes we all went to retina specialists and took supplements that encouraged eye health. To this day I still have annual exams with my doctor who specializes in toxoplasmosis.
However, like anyone, I can be neglectful too when it comes to my screen time. I bought special glasses to protect my eyes while online but I forget to always wear them. Also, I do not wash my eyes with cornflower or drink my eye-brightening teas like Ginko and Chrysanthemum as often as I should so trust me when I say that writing this blog serves as a reminder for all of us.
Believe it or not, caring for our eyes only takes a few wonderful products, supplements and simple at-home tips. Also, commercial eye drops to relieve dryness are loaded with harsh industrial ingredients, even mercury in some cases! This is not the standard you want for your body and also, these drops are addictive because they only offer temporary relief (like most products) so you are constantly buying and using them.
I promise you that when you include the tips noted in this post, your need for OTC eye drops will become drastically less, if at all.
My Simple DIY Tips To Maintain Your Bright Eyes!
- When you are on the phone or computer, take a break every 20 minutes and force blink. Also look into the distance, tap around your eyes and move them up, down, left and right.
- Wear protective glasses when you can while online and try to keep the screen two feet from your eyes. If you wear prescription reading glasses and are unable to also wear the protective glasses, try attaching a protective screen on your computer.
- Warm your computer screen so there is less blue light, which can cause macular degeneration. To do this simply go to your display settings and adjust your screen display to “more warm”.
- Every week your phone tells you how many hours you spent online so pay attention to whether or not your screen time went up or down and set goals for the following week. This is especially useful if you know you are spending idle time online. Also, be mindful of your phone usage when you’re in line at the supermarket, at the doctor’s office, at your kid’s after school events, at the dinner table (no phones should be allowed) or on the bus or train. These are all times where we could be reading a newspaper, book, writing in our journal or engaging others. If anything we can use this time to sit still, eyes closed, breathing in and out for a simple calming meditation.
- Get in the habit of bringing a book, magazine or other study materials to read when you know you are going to the DMV, doctor’s office or anywhere else where you know you will have to wait. Also try leaving your phone at home or in the car when running errands. Do you really need it with you every single second?
- Sip on Chrysanthemum, Ginko, Lemongrass and Eye Bright Teas. Load up on foods rich in anthocyanins like blue potatoes, blueberries, blackberries. Eat lots of greens and other carotene rich foods and MOST DEFINITELY take a Complete Omega supplement every single day. Not just Omega 3 but a Complete Omega 3-6-9. I love this soy-free complete omega blend from Flora and am also intrigued by this sea buckthorn berry based complete omega but am still finishing my Flora blend so have not tried it yet but if you do, please let me know what you think.
Below is a testimonial from my client who was suffering tremendously from dry eyes
and could find no relief until we had a little chat:
“At the end of 2013 both of my eyes suddenly became so light-sensitive that I had to spend my days in darkened rooms. I happened to mention the problem to Elisha, whose products I had been using for years. She was profoundly proactive and helpful with the situation. She suggested I immediately start taking UDO’s 3-6-9 blend to provide the necessary fatty acids from organic flax, sesame and sunflower seeds. She followed up with ideas on how to incorporate it into my diet in salads and smoothies. A few days later she emailed me her favorite ingredients for smoothies that would contain the proper mix of anti-oxidants and greens and oils, explaining to me that it’s all about what we consume that changes our health.
Within a short period of time, I could feel the effects of the UDO’s and the other changes to my diet. My eyes were becoming less light sensitive and my skin was not as dry. Even my hair changed and became softer! I still use Elisha’s recipes and would not go a day without my UDO’s. In fact, I look at all my food intake differently after her advice. Thank you Elisha.”
- Set a goal to wash your eyes every week with cornflower or chamomile tea. You can either get a special eye-cup to do this or you can saturate a cotton ball with cornflower and squeeze it over your open eye to flush it out. This healthy habit will benefit your eyes tremendously and lessen your dependency on OTC eye drops.
Read more about commercial eye drops here and also review this list to see if you are using any one of these 130 products approved by the FDA that contain mercury (Be your own watchdog because clearly you are the only one who can safeguard your health and the health of your family.)
I hope this article inspires you to care more for your eyes. Please share your progress and how these tips are working in your everyday.
Until next time