If you’re like me, you’re spending more time these days staring into yet another screen. A lot more. Sure, typical work tasks are notorious for requiring lots of screen time from entering numbers into spreadsheets to writing reports to creating presentations. But now, we can add even more time as work goes virtual and video conferencing becomes the new normal.
In addition, you may find yourself checking the news or connecting on social media more often to help deal with the uncertainly around us. You may be watching more television or streaming movies to relieve stay-at-home boredom. And, if you have kids, you’ll likely need to keep an eye on their new world of digital learning (and stare into yet one more screen).
It all adds up to a dramatic increase in our screen time, especially over the past few months.
As many as three out of five adults report spending more time using screens like smart phones, television and computers, according to one recent poll of over 1,000 adults. The good news is most of them also said they were concerned about the impact of all this screen time on their eyes. I say this is good news because awareness is the gateway to action.
How to protect your vision from harsh video screens
Too much screen time can take a big toll on the human eye, starting with eye strain. You know the feeling: sore, tired, burning, itching eyes that are either too dry or too watery. Or worse, headaches.
So what can you do?
You can start with three simple vision protectors:
1. Increase your intake of lutein-rich foods.
Lutein is a carotenoid. It’s the reason many foods like corn and egg yolks are yellow. Yet, you’ll find the highest amounts in green vegetables like spinach and kale. This is because the green of chlorophyll masks its yellow color.
When you consume lutein, most of it travels to the macular region of your eye responsible for sharp vision. Here, along with its chemical cousin zeaxanthin, lutein works as a powerful antioxidant to absorb harmful high-energy blue light. This is the same light emitted off your video display screens.
Raw spinach is probably the best whole food source of lutein (and zeaxanthin) with about 4 milligrams per cup. Cooked broccoli or zucchini provides about 2 milligrams per cup, and other foods provide less per typical serving size.
2. Include a quality supplement in your daily routine.
While we all aspire to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day, many people find this difficult. For this reason, an eye health supplement is more important than ever, especially if you want to bath your eyes with protective lutein.
But not just any supplement, you’ll want one backed by science like the Nutrilite® brand that takes the power of lutein to the next level.
Our researchers are constantly looking at better ways to more fully support healthy vision and combat eye fatigue. As always, it starts with the best of nature.
And they are eager to share.
In fact, the results of one fascinating study were published just last month in the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In this study, the researchers investigated a new botanical blend for eye fatigue in adults. The blend combines lutein and other well recognized eye health ingredients.
Over 350 participants were enrolled in this double-blind, placebo-controlled study and randomly assigned to one of four groups. One group took a placebo, once daily. The other groups took the botanical blend with either 6, 10 or 14 milligrams of lutein, once daily.
Here’s what the researchers found after 3 months.
Compared to the placebo, all three botanical blends significantly reduced eye fatigue, improved vision and improved macular pigment density (a key marker of vision health).
Plus, the blends with more lutein – at least 10 mg a day – improved tear secretion, which helps lubricate dry eyes and removes irritants.
Combining a healthy diet with plenty of lutein-rich foods with an eye health supplement with lutein is a great strategy to ensure you get enough of this protective nutrient every day.
3. Rest your eyes with the 20-20-20 Rule.
You can try this right now. Look away from your screen for 20 seconds and focus your gaze on something at least 20 feet in the distance. Do this every 20 minutes you’re behind a screen.
It’s called the 20-20-20 Rule. It allows your eyes to relax, which helps reduce eye strain. If you find it hard to remember, set up a timer as a reminder to take a break.
Experts also recommend that you keep screens at least 18 to 24 inches from your face, and blink often. We tend to blink less frequently when we’re gazing into a digital screen, and that can lead to dry, irritated eyes. The fix can be as simple as blinking 10 times (very slowly) every 20 minutes to help re-wet your eyes.
Now I say, look away (and blink) and enjoy a great day!
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