How temperature-controlled operators can really see ‘20/20’ next year

While it may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to how working in low temperatures affects you, your eye health is one of the main areas you should make an effort to look after when working in cold chain environments.

We know that the overuse of computers and smartphones can cause significant strain to our eyes in daily lives, but adding frequent low temperatures to the mix can result in an array of problems including dryness, excess tearing, light sensitivity, redness and changes to your overall vision.

To maximise your health and maintain your vision as close to 20/20 in the upcoming year, we have compiled tips, nutritional advice and guidance on how those working in temperature-controlled environments can maximise their eye health next year.

Stay hydrated

Dry eye is one of the common problems associated with working in lower temperatures and one of the easiest ways to overcome this is to stay hydrated. Alongside drinking regular amounts of water, increasing your intake of omega-3s and using a humidifier in your home can be great ways to minimise dehydration as a whole.

Take regular breaks when using screens or computers

Using a computer too frequently can cause computer vision syndrome (CVS), where the eyes become tired, dry and even strained from the glare. While obviously this is a typically involuntary action, try to blink regularly during the day when working on a computer to avoid dry eyes.

Taking regular breaks is imperative when sitting in front of a screen, where the famous 20-20-20 rule can come in handy.  Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from your screen to look at something 20 feet away. This vital break will give your eyes a chance to rest and is an effective way to reduce eye strain.

Reduce smoking

Smoking exposes your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress and has been linked to the risk of cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes and dry eye syndrome. Quitting smoking at any stage of life can be beneficial, reducing the risk of developing eye threatening conditions.

Go on a 20-minute walk, four times a week

Exercising regularly is a recommended way to keep your eyes in check. Exercising will lower the pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure), helping to protect retinal ganglion cells. It may help in glaucoma patients, but autoregulation, ie independent of exercise is the main control here for blood flow.

Try to sleep for 7-9 hours a night

For most people, sleeping is the one period during the day when their eyes are not required to focus. During sleep, the eyes are rehydrated with a supply of natural tears, a process which requires a minimum of five hours to replenish.

If sleeping is an issue, taking the above steps of exercising regularly are helpful tips to tackle this. Relaxing in bed without using a screen can also help, as well as hot baths, light yoga or reading a book. If your sleep issue persists, visit a doctor to assess if there are any underlying issues to your sleeping patterns.

Eat a balanced diet

To maintain healthy eyes, eating foods rich in vitamins c and e, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zinc are highly recommended. Kale, spinach, salmon, tuna, eggs, nuts, beans, oranges and oysters are some of the many foods crucial to this balanced diet.

Change your eye makeup regularly (if you wear it)

With the eye-watering prices of high-end makeup, it is not uncommon for consumers to continue using their eye makeup until it completely runs out. Liquid and cream eye makeups do, however, collect bacteria which can harbour in brushes, lids or the product itself. Eye makeup and mascara should be replaced every three months to minimise the risk of infections and products should never be shared with others.

Wear sunglasses with the correct protection

Although sunglasses make an excellent accessory in the summer, their importance for eye protection should not be underestimated. Fast fashion retailers do not always produce sunglasses with the correct materials to avoid harmful ultraviolet (UV) light. This makes it imperative for consumers to ensure they purchase glasses which cover both UVA and UVB protection.

Get your eyes checked regularly

Regular eye examinations are crucial to spotting sight loss or damage before it worsens. Optometrists can help detect conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration which can lead to sight loss, so visiting your optician is an important step in maintaining good eye health.

By Alastair Lockwood, eye health specialist and ophthalmologist at Feel Good Contacts.

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