Eye care tips for heavy readers to maintain healthy vision
Snuggling up in a cozy corner with a book has been a pastime we’ve enjoyed for hundreds of years. Each completed chapter feels like an accomplishment, and the soft white pages merge into a colorful kaleidoscope of imagination, adventure, emotion, and new ideas.
But with impaired vision at an all-time high, taking care of your vision is something everyone should be mindful of, especially while enjoying your favorite pastime. Here are some tips to preserve your vision while reading.
Read in a well-lit room
As much as we would like, we cannot see very well in the dark. Our eyes are constantly readjusting in the dark, and if you’re reading in a poorly lit room, your eyes will tire very quickly. Refocusing between black letters and white pages, keeping your eyes open longer inducing dryness, and squinting to make out words all put undue strain on your eyes. Get a reading lamp or read in a room with enough light so that reading is not a chore.
This next chapter may seem tempting, but as with all things in life, moderation is the best approach. There is a rule when doing anything with the eyes called 20-20-20. Every 20 minutes, move your gaze to something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Flash as much as you can to keep those peepers well lubricated, remember well maintained tools tend to last much longer.
You are what you eat, and that goes for your eyes too. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins C and E, zinc and lutein can help prevent common age-related diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. You can get them from foods like salmon, tuna, kale, spinach, arugula, strawberries, eggs, nuts, beans, pork, oysters, and citrus fruits. Not only will a good diet help your overall health, but it will keep your eyes in top condition.
As if you needed another reason to quit smoking, this bad habit can affect your long-term eye health. Smoking promotes the appearance of both cataracts and macular degeneration. It can also damage your optic nerve. Don’t give up if you’ve already tried to quit. Each attempt brings you one step closer to quitting forever and allows you to enjoy a healthy habit like reading for many years to come.
Be aware of screen time before bed
It’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before bed, but studies show that leaving 30 minutes between using your devices and going to bed is better for your sleep and better for your eyes. Screens dry out your eyes and can impact your sleep cycle. It’s tough, but put the phone away before you go to bed!
Use safety glasses
No, we’re not saying you need the glasses while reading, no matter how intense the content. What we’re saying is if you play sports or work in an environment with airborne particles, it’s a good idea to protect your eyes. Hockey, lacrosse, and even racquetball can all hurt your eyes in an instant, so why take the risk?
Consult your ophthalmologist regularly
You need a regular physical exam to check on your health, so why should your eyes be any different? They are perhaps the sense we use the most, and very important if you want to keep reading! Schedule regular exams with your optometrist and ophthalmologist. They can detect early onset eye diseases like glaucoma, which are much easier to treat if you catch them early.
Reading may seem like an older medium, but that’s part of its charm. Where movies, video games and even music all now rely on devices with screens, it’s still possible, and even encouraged, to read on good old paper, and you need your eyes to do that. . Be aware of their health and keep them in good shape so that your mind can continue to explore foreign worlds, new perspectives and more challenging stories than you could ever imagine. Good reading!