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Do you find yourself getting headaches a lot when you’ve been sitting at your computer for too long? Are your eyes tired at the end of the day, whether you’ve been at work or at play? It might be time for a visit to the eye doctor, but first let’s talk about how your daily activities affect your eyes, and about some of the ways you can give them a rest for better vision and more energy.

TOO MUCH TIME LOOKING AT THE SCREEN

When you’re at work, you probably spend a good amount of time at a computer. When you’re not at the computer, you’re probably in a meeting, looking at a projector screen, or at lunch, reading text messages and catching up on Facebook and Instagram on your phone or tablet.

Staring at a computer (or other) screen for too long can create fatigue in your eye muscles. It’s a good idea, both for your eyes and your sanity, to take periodic five-minute breaks throughout the day to go for a walk, unfocus your eyes, stretch, or do just about anything but stare at that screen. You’ll feel more rested, and you’ll have fewer headaches.

YOUR DIET

High blood pressure can cause vision impairment. Eating a poor diet can also lead to type 2 diabetes, which can lead to diabetes-related vision loss. So, if you’re eating a high-cholesterol diet that’s heavy on empty calories, simple carbohydrates, and fats, it’s time to lean down.

You’ll notice, after just a few days, that you feel lighter and more energetic. You’ll probably get fewer headaches from eyestrain, and if you stick to it, your doctor will be happy with your drop in blood pressure as well.

ACCIDENTAL, MINOR TRAUMA

Whether from mowing the lawn, building a treehouse, or changing the oil on your car, you do a lot of things in your daily life that can cause minor trauma to your eyes. You don’t have to wear eye protection every minute of every day, but when there’s debris flying around (e.g., when you’re mowing the lawn or drilling and sawing wood for the tree house), you should definitely take some precautions for your eyes.

If you get something in your eye, be sure to wash it out with clear water. Don’t rub your eye, as you may scratch your cornea and need to make an emergency trip to the eye doctor.

HOW ARE YOU SLEEPING?

As much as staring at the computer screen can cause your eyes to fatigue, so can stress and lack of rest. If you’re running on too little sleep, or you’re not getting good, restful sleep, your eyes will suffer. You’ll notice that you have trouble focusing in the morning, and that trouble may actually continue into the day.

Try to cut out that last cup of coffee in the afternoon and spend some time relaxing before bed. Then try to get at least eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. Your eyes will thank you for it.

Finally, if it’s been a while since you’ve had an eye exam, make an appointment. Regular eye exams help in preventing macular degeneration, treating glaucoma before it becomes serious and needs surgery, and all kinds of other vision issues.

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