Head outdoors for bet­ter eye health

New Straits Times - - Heal -

AQUEENSLAND Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy (QUT) eye health re­searcher and op­tometrist has ad­vised peo­ple to take a break from mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and head outdoors as it’s one of the best ways to main­tain eye health. As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Scott Read puts spend­ing more time in nat­u­ral light -- and less time in front of a screen -- as one of his top five ev­ery­day tips for keep­ing your eyes healthy.

“There are two known ben­e­fits to be­ing out­side in to­day’s world - it gives your eyes a chance to fo­cus on things fur­ther away and have a rest from close-up work, and it also ex­poses our eyes to brighter out­door light which ap­pears to re­duce our risks of de­vel­op­ing short-sight­ed­ness,” ex­plains Read.

Read, who is di­rec­tor of re­search at QUT’s School of Op­tom­e­try and Vi­sion Sci­ence, led a study into chil­dren’s light ex­po­sure and eye growth last year which showed a link be­tween in­creased ex­po­sure to out­door light and pre­vent­ing or re­duc­ing short-sight­ed­ness, also known as my­opia, in kids.

The re­sults showed that less than 60 min­utes out­door light ex­po­sure per day is a risk fac­tor for my­opia.

Read rec­om­mends that ide­ally, chil­dren should spend at least two hours a day out­side to help pre­vent my­opia from de­vel­op­ing and pro­gress­ing.

It is not yet known why out­door light has this ben­e­fi­cial af­fect on eye­sight.

As well as head­ing outdoors, here are five Head­ing outdoors into nat­u­ral light is one of the best ways to main­tain eye health, says an ex­pert.

more top tips from Read for good eye health:

* Take reg­u­lar breaks from close work and screen time - try shift­ing your fo­cus and look­ing at some­thing in the dis­tance ev­ery 20 min­utes or so when do­ing close work.

* Don’t smoke - it in­creases the risks of cataracts, mac­u­lar de­gen­er­a­tion and dam­age to your op­tic nerve. Main­tain a healthy weight to lessen your chance of di­a­betes, which can cause eye prob­lems.

* Know your fam­ily’s eye health his­tory and get reg­u­lar check-ups (adults and kids), es­pe­cially if there are hered­i­tary eye con­di­tions.

* Get plenty of sleep - a bad night’s sleep con­trib­utes to eye fa­tigue.

* Eat­ing dark leafy greens and egg yolks is good for your eyes - they con­tain lutein and zeax­an­thin which are im­por­tant nu­tri­ents for eye health.

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