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Limit screen time

Limit screen time
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Smartphones, laptops and other devices are a big part of our lives today, and while they help us do everything from working to stay connected to loved ones to shopping, they’re not doing anything to protect your eyesight. Staring at the screen for extended periods of time can cause computer vision syndrome, which is marked by eye strain, blurred vision, headaches and dry eyes. “Take frequent breaks during the day by way of the 20-20-20 rule,” says Morgan Statt, a Health & Safety Advocate at consumersafety.org. “Every 20 minutes, look away at something else for 20 seconds that’s at least 20 feet (six metres) away,” to give your eyes a break from using your near vision.

Read on for the scary reason you need to limit your child’s screen time ASAP.

Face the A/C away from your eyes

Face the A/C away from your eyes
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“Blasting your A/C directly on your face may feel good on a hot summer day, but it can wreak havoc on your eyes,” Statt says. The dry air zaps away natural moisture on the surface of your eyes. To protect eyesight, she says, point the air vents away from your face.

Seek shades

Seek shades
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“Choose sunglasses that protect against 100 per cent of the sun’s ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays, which can cause all sorts of eye damage and problems,” says ophthalmologist, Dr Vincent Hau. Your shades don’t have to cost a fortune either. “More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better protection,” he says. “You can get [inexpensive] sunglasses with just as good of protection or better than designer ones.”

As well as offering sun protection, sunglasses are a stylish accessory. Read on to find out more about Jackie Kennedy’s style.

Wear them even on cloudy days

Wear them even on cloudy days
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One of the common myths about sunglasses is that you don’t need them if it isn’t sunny. “Even on a cloudy day, UV lights still shine through and will hit and damage your eyes,” Dr Hau says. Think of your sunglasses the same way that you think about your sunscreen, and never leave home unprotected.

Get regular eye exams even if you don’t wear glasses

Get regular eye exams even if you don’t wear glasses
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Wondering how to improve eyesight? “Visit your eye doctor once a year for a comprehensive dilated eye exam,” says optometrist, Dr Matthew Alpert. When your eyes are dilated, the doctor can see the back of the eyes and examine them for any signs of damage or disease. “Comprehensive eye exams aren’t just about the eyes. They can also help detect chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.”

Here are some signs that indicate it’s time to visit an eye doctor.

Don’t sleep in your contact lenses

Don’t sleep in your contact lenses
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As tempting as it may be after a rough night, ophthalmologist Dr Inna Ozerov, cautions against snoozing in your contacts – even when the brand says it is OK. “The contact lens surface may allow micro-organisms to adhere to your eye, therefore increasing the likelihood of infection,” she says. Taking your lenses out before bed also gives your eyes more contact with oxygen, which decreases the risk of infection.

Here’s some great eye care advice to protect your vision.

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Quit smoking

Quit smoking
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In addition to all of the other health ills associated with smoking, “tobacco is extremely toxic to the cells of the retina, a thin layer of tissue lining the back of the eye, and significantly increases the risk of developing macular degeneration, which may lead to blindness,” Dr Ozerov says. Macular degeneration occurs when the central part of the retina (the macula) deteriorates.

Drink up before take-off

Drink up before take-off
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Dehydration worsens dry eye symptoms, so if you’re travelling by air, drink lots of water before and during a flight to protect eyesight, Alpert says. “It is fine to enjoy alcoholic and caffeinated drinks as long as you drink extra water to make up for fluid loss,” he adds. Also, the overhead air conditioning tends to blow dry air directly into your eyes, so close the vents before take-off.

Keep your distance

Keep your distance
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“Find a comfortable working distance from your screen,” Alpert urges. “This is especially important for children, since the intensity of light increases exponentially the closer our eyes are to light sources.” The blue light emitted by our go-to digital devices can raise our risk of developing macular degeneration and may also cause eye strain. Investing in a blue light filter can also help protect your vision.

Dial down the brightness

Dial down the brightness
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“Turn down the brightness level of device screens to reduce blue light exposure, especially during evening hours,” Alpert says. This will lower the chances of developing eye strain and other eye issues associated with exposure to blue light.

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Reader’s Digest Magazine delayed due to coronavirus
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in Malaysia and the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in these regions. We hope to have the issues available around 15 April in Malaysia and around 24 April in the Philippines, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience.
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