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Top Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on February 6, 2024

Top Tips to Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Posted by Medavie Blue Cross on February 6, 2024

Whether it's for work or leisure, we find ourselves spending an extensive amount of time in front of screens every day. As of 2022, Canadians were using social media an average of two hours a day, more than six hours using the internet and over three hours watching television.1

These extended hours of screen time can put a lot of strain on our eyes and cause eye fatigue. In fact, research shows that Canadian optometrists have seen an increase in vision problems consistent with the rise in screen time, especially since the pandemic.

There’s even a name for a condition caused by spending too much time in front of screens. It’s called Computer Vision Syndrome, and common symptoms are headaches, eye strain, blurred vision, eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing or dry eyes, eye pain, or excessive blinking. Even people with perfect vision may experience these symptoms with prolonged computer use and the extra pressure it places on our eyes.

A Guide to Protecting Your Eyes, Preventing Vision Loss

You can protect your vision by following these quick and easy steps, daily.

Take 20
Tired eyes? Take a 20-second break from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away. This will give your eyes a much-needed rest.

Blink twice
Here’s something many don’t know. On average, we blink 12 times per minute, but when we’re on the computer, we only blink five times per minute. That can result in dry eyes, which, if left untreated, may lead to eye inflammation and even vision loss. Use eye drops, drink plenty of water, and don’t forget to blink to keep your eyes from drying out.

Measure the distance
Binge-watching favourite TV shows or movies? Sit at a distance equal to a minimum of five times the width of your TV screen. A similar rule applies to our computer screens. Place your screen at an arm's length away from you and adjust screen brightness to your surroundings, eliminating any harsh lighting near your workspace.

Eat your veggies
How often did your mother tell you to “eat your vegetables? They’re good for you.” She was right. Foods containing vitamin C (papayas, red bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, and oranges) or antioxidants, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale, have health benefits for your eyes. The same is true of eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut.

Get tested!
The best way to protect your vision is to have an eye exam, as many eye diseases have no symptoms and go undetected. The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends children have their first eye exam between nine months and the age of six and annually after that, while adults should have their eyes tested every two years.

Don your shades
Make sure you have proper protective eyewear on when playing sports or working around the home, and always wear sunglasses outside even when the sun isn’t shining. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are harmful to your eyes regardless of the season. Buy sunglasses that block out 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.

Get professional help
Don’t assume that an issue like eye irritation from allergies, inflammation, infection, or injury, will go away on its own. Unusual visual symptoms may require treatment to resolve or, in some cases, signal a more serious condition. For eye care emergencies, reach out first to your optometrist to see if an emergency appointment can be made rather than go to the ER.

Know your family history
Many eye conditions, from simple long and short sight to more serious diseases such as glaucoma, can be inherited. Research your family’s eye health history to detect and treat a condition before it becomes serious.

Book an appointment
You don’t need a referral to reserve an appointment with an optometrist and most insurance plans reimburse fa portion of the cost. Find a doctor near you and get your eyes tested today. An eye exam is sometimes the only way to detect common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, and age-related macular degeneration, in their early stages.

Learn More

The Canadian Association of Optometrists has an extensive library of information to help Canadians maintain optimal eye health and vision care. Check it out.

Also, familiarize yourself with the coverage available to you under your insurance plan to keep your eyes healthy and prevent vision loss.

1 Statistics Canada

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