Along with the quarantine 15 and FOMO, the pandemic introduced another strain into our lives: Zoom-itis, aka the digital eyestrain that results from staring at screens all day. If there’s a good thing about this, says Jerry Tsong, M.D., a board-certified ophthalmologist in Stamford, Connecticut, testosterone 2000 mg week it’s that it prompted people to be more aware of their eye health. Here’s what he does to keep his eyes comfortable and in working order.
Block ultraviolet rays
I’m really obsessive about putting on my Ray-Bans as soon as I step outside. UV light is linked to aging diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration—the number-one cause of blindness in the developed world—and harm can start adding up in your 40s. Indoors, I don’t wear glasses to block blue light—I haven’t seen any research that shows they help with eye fatigue.
Give your eyes a break to reduce eyestrain
The popular 20-20-20 rule says you should look away from your screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to relieve digital eyestrain. I find that’s impossible to follow. Instead, I close my eyes for ten minutes on my lunch break and listen to a meditation app. Your eyes get tired with intense use. Closing them is like taking a break between sets of exercise.
Sweat to save your retinas
After reading a recent study that found that exercise may help maintain good eye health, I’ve done 100 pushups daily and I fit in a Peloton session three times a week. Physical activity may stave off some of the cell aging that leads to issues like macular degeneration. And being active can also help prevent diabetes, which damages the blood vessels that feed your retinas.
Ban screens from the bedroom
I keep my phone from intruding on my night—disabling notifications and turning on “do not disturb” so texts don’t wake me up. In general, extra “awake” time means you’re doing more bad things to your eyes, such as staring at screens. And you’re depriving your body of the sleep that helps your eyes regain moisture, which protects them from infection and abrasions and keeps them comfortable.
Nourish your eyes from the inside
I jumped on the Mediterranean-diet bandwagon in a serious way when research found it might reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 41 percent. This produce-filled diet can help prevent the inflammation that may contribute to AMD. It’s a cliché, but I love avocado toast for breakfast and often have a kale quinoa salad for lunch.
Shampoo your lids
Most people have never heard of “eyelid hygiene,” but hear me out. Our eyelids collect oil all day long. After hours of screens, the oil glands along the lashes get clogged. Tears evaporate more quickly, and the eyes become crusty and irritated. I put a little baby shampoo on a washcloth, apply it on my lids, and rinse with water. This is my version of a digital detox at the end of the day.
This story originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of Men’s Health.
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