A few months ago, I noticed that I was having a funny feeling in my eyes. It was like something was moving in my left eye and I ignored it for the longest until one day I looked at a mirror and observed my eyes closely. Then I saw a growth on my eyeballs in the other eye. It really freaked me out.
I immediately booked an appointment with an optometrist. I was so scared that I couldn’t afford to miss my appointment. The eye screening began, I read things from a distance and luckily my vision was perfect and then she asked me, how much time do you spend on your laptop and phone? Immediately she said that, I knew that had to be the cause, because I spend at least 7hours on my laptop daily.
So she went on and did full testing and diagnosis and boom!!! I was told that I have dry eyes and the growth on the other eye was pterygium. Shocked, I asked What are dry eyes? I’ve never heard of dry eyes, can you get that growth out of my eyes? I asked.
Luckily for me, I got treatment for the dry eyes condition but the pterygium remained because it never goes away once it appears but it can be surgically removed if it begins to disrupt your sight.
What is blue light?
Blue light is a high energy visible light that has a shorter wavelength. It is a colour in the visible light spectrum that can be seen by the human eye. Blue light is found everywhere, from the sun to digital screens like computers, smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices like TV, LED light etc. Blue light is not bad in the real sense, your body needs it in its natural form to regulate your sleep and wake cycle also called a circadian rhythm.
There are several benefits of blue light but the dangers include:
- It can damage your eyes and cause eventual blindness if proper care is not given to the eyes while using computers and other devices
- It causes digital eye strain; dry eyes, discomfort and regular headaches
- It can prematurely age the eyes.
How to protect your eyes from the harmful effect of blue light
Smart tv, smartphones, laptops and computers are the new normal and the light from the sun is part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we cannot avoid but we can try to reduce the adverse effect by doing these;
The 20-20-20 rule
My doctor told me that one of the reasons I had dry eyes was not blinking enough. Consciously or unconsciously, when you are working on a computer or watching something on a screen, you tend to focus so much and blink less. The 20-20-20 rule says you should look away from the screen every 20 minutes to an object that is 20 feet away for 20 full seconds. Practising this will help reduce digital eye strain. Try this right now if you have been on your screen for a long time today.
Use anti-glare glasses
Anti-glare or anti-reflective glasses have a thin layer placed on them that remove the reflection you’d normally see on your glasses both in and out. The anti-glare defends your eyes from excess light by allowing more light through the lens while eliminating the glare. So get yourself an anti-glare glass today, I’m sure you can get good ones online or visit your eye clinic for one.
Moisturise your eyes
Lubricating your eyes can help reduce the dryness and effect of blue light. There are artificial tears in the form of an eye drop that can help maintain the moisture in the outer layer of the eye. You can also use a humidifier to keep the air around moist too, it will help your eyes.
Use dark mode on your devices
This even makes it easier especially on smartphones and laptops, you can switch to a dark screen. The dark screen completely takes out the brightness and you can use this both during the day and at night. Check the apps you use and the sites you visit most to know if they support dark mode. popular apps like Twitter, Pinterest and almost all apps developed by Google and IOS support dark mode. Thankfully, this site also supports dark mode so you can switch to dark mode right now. If you are not switching to dark mode simply reduce the brightness of your phone or laptop and you’d be good.
While sunglasses are not made to protect you from the screen’s blue light, it helps protect your eyes from the blue light from the sun. One of the causes of pterygia is direct exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet light). So, go get yourself a nice sunglass because you would not only be protecting your eyes you’d look super cool in it too.
Use screen guards/protector
There are screen protectors that can serve as anti-glare glasses especially for those who don’t like to wear glasses. When next you go shopping for a screen protector, ask for an anti-glare one. It’s available for computers, phones and laptops too, just place it over your screen, it will shield your eyes from blue light.
Some of us love our screens so much that implementing these may be difficult but having eye problems and discomfort is not something you want to begin to deal with especially, if you are still young.
So, as much as possible, take these precautions whenever you work on your phones and laptops, this is mainly for those who now work from home and work all day.
Set a timer to practise the 20-20-20 rule, it will reduce the strain on your eyes and make you even more productive.
Eat healthy meals and incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet also. Certain fruits and vegetables are known to contain vitamins like vitamin A, C, E and Omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your eyes and can make your sight clearer.
Make it a habit to check your eyes at least once a year and if you think you may not be able to afford it, search for clinics that offer free eye screening near you. Take charge of your health today and protect your vision.