Age, hereditary, dietary factors, lifestyle, medical conditions and more can all impact eye health. Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler, of the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills, has been featured on NBC’s The Doctors and many other outlets, as a media expert on eye health.
He says the main cause of eyestrain today is focusing too much on the computer and mobile devices. This can also cause dry eyes from not blinking enough—your blink rate is reduced by 30% when you’re looking at a screen. And when we age, our eyes change. “It typically happens when people are in their 40s, so the lens can’t focus as well for up close vision as it used to, and that’s the reason why people start needing reading glasses or are considering some other procedures,” Dr. Boxer Wachler says. In addition, you can lose contrast sensitivity, which is how you differentiate more details than just what is on the eye chart—black letters on a white background. Maturing of the retina, in particular, is responsible for that.
But it’s never too early to start taking care of your eyes. One thing anyone can do, starting now, is practice the 20-20 rule: Take 20 second breaks every 20 minutes from looking at your computer screen and close your eyes. You can also use artificial tears and consume oral flax oil to lubricate them externally and internally. This can be more impactful than getting a prescription for a special eyestrain coating on your glasses, Dr. Boxer Wachler says.
Dr. Boxer Wachler also has these tips to help keep your eyes in the best shape possible:
And finally, be aware that anything on your hands can go directly into your eyes, even by accident. Foreign matter that comes in contact with your eyes can cause nasty infections; always wash your hands with warm, soapy water to kill any bacteria or viruses. An irritation can happen to anyone at any time. Dr. Boxer Wachler once had an issue while cutting hot Thai peppers. The oil from the peppers stayed on his fingers, and the next morning, while riding his bike, his eyes started burning like crazy. “I literally had to take out my contacts and throw them away and ride back to my place, wash my hands really carefully and put in a new pair of contacts.”