Head outdoors for better eye health
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.