I always thought the phrase ‘the eyes are the window to your soul’ was just some romantic line, dang was I wrong! Your eyes can tell a great deal about your health and they are the most neglected part of your body. I know that for myself over the past decade, I have not been vigilant on eye care -spending countless hours in front of the screen of various sizes.
So, I wanted to share a secret with you all. I wear glasses, but the prescription is so small that I neglect to wear them at all. I know I cannot continue doing this and it won’t be long before I have to permanently have a window placed between me and the world. In the meantime, I am going to educate myself and you in how we can take better care of our eyes.
To get the details on what we all can do to take better care of our eyes, I sat down with #GirlBoss Dr. Clara Chan, Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Toronto, for an eye-opening education. All puns aside, I seriously needed an education on what I and many other Canadians are doing wrong when it comes to vision health.
Dr. Chan is an ophthalmologist specializing in Cornea and Cataract Surgery. Basically, things have to be going really bad with your eyes if you family doctor sends you to her. This makes her the perfect person to find out what are the most common problems they are seeing in vision health and how we can take better care of our eyes.
If you are anything like me, who spends a great deal of my time in front of a screen, be it computer or phone (I can’t tell you how many times I have unlocked my phone to check mail only to get distracted part way through to take a look into my social media account and then spend who knows how long watching YouTube videos). One thing I don’t do when I’m surfing on my mobile phone is taking a break to blink. According to Dr Chan, many of us are spending a lot of time on our phones and this is causing dry eye symptoms, eye fatigue and potentially the worsening of nearsightedness. Yikes! So when you are in front of a screen, blink so your eyes don’t get dry and your tears don’t evaporate. Yup, tears are a good thing for eye health.
In the last two decades, I have rarely visited my family doctor. In fact, I went through a period of 3 years that I didn’t see my family doctor because there was always some excuse. The way I saw it, I didn’t need to make an appointment unless it was an emergency. Basically, I was never in tune with my personal health, and the same could be said about my vision. I know now I was taking everything for granted, the same thing that can be said by a lot of folks like me. According to Dr. Chan, we assume that our sight will always be fine and we don’t raise concern until we start experiencing major problems like vision loss
Now that it’s summer, I am planning on spending a great deal of time outdoors. In fact, I have already gotten a head start while on my last trip and got myself a gorgeous tan. Now we all slather on sunscreen to help protect our skin from harmful UVA/UVB rays, but for eyes, we should wear sunglasses that provide a barrier from those same rays. Don’t worry there is no special pair of glasses you need to get to do this, any set of sunglasses will do the work as long as they block 100% of UV light (both UV-A and UV-B!).
Now ya’ll know I have a huge love affair with food. Turns out Vision Health is totally onboard with me when it comes to providing a good excuse to eat certain items to keep my eyes in check. When it comes to comparing vision health of The 6ix versus say other cities, we have a notable deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids. That means having fish, soya beans (roasted), walnuts, salmon, canola oil, chia seeds and flaxseeds to my diet.
So moving onwards, I am going to follow her 20/20/20 rule (for every 20 minutes of screen time, look 20 meters away and close my eyes for 20 seconds), blink often so my eyes don’t dry out, be in tune with my eye health and eat more salmon (like I need an excuse for that one!). What are you going to do to take better care of your eyes?