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I’ve known for some time that I have a slight astigmatism but since I wasn’t particularly excited about wearing glasses I kept ignoring it. I finally gave in and got a pair recently. For frames, I chose Ray Ban titaniums because they are light and as inconspicuous as possible.
Any reluctance I had evaporated the instant I put my new prescription glasses on. My mouth dropped in awe at the crispness of everything. The lettering in a sign off in the distance was suddenly much darker because the white background didn’t bleed into its edges. Colors were more vibrant. It was an incredible change.
The experience made me feel sheepish for ignoring my eyes for so long. After all, as a trader we are using our eyes everyday, we rely on it without conscious thought. It is probably one of our most important and heavily burdened assets. But unfortunately most of us take our eye health for granted.
After some research here are some tips for increasing and maintaining the health of your eyes:
Invest in a good monitor
If you’re using a CRT, make sure the refresh rate is high enough so it doesn’t cause eye fatigue (75+ is good).
If you’re using an LCD, reset it regularly so that the settings are automatically optimized. Also, use a screen resolution that is native to your monitor and large enough to not cause strain.
Regular checkups with an optometrist
Timing your eye checkups with your annual medical is a good way to make sure you never forget them. A full eye exam goes way beyond reading a chart and is essential to catching any potential problems as soon as possible.
Take supplements and vitamins
If your diet is lacking in colourful fruits (pomegranates, raspberries, etc.) and vegetables take a full multi-vitamin. Check that it has vitamin A, B complex and C, zinc, and anti-oxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin alpha lipoic acid. If your diet is full of a wide variety of greens and fruits you probably don’t need a supplement.
The right lighting
Position and angle your monitor(s) so that you avoid any glare. The best way to achieve this is to put the source of light behind them. Avoid fluorescent lighting. The best option is diffused lighting that mimics natural sunlight.
Your eye is constantly being washed clean by naturally produced tears but you can always give it a boost by using products like Systane or Allergan’s Refresh. This is a great way to comfort tired and overworked eyes.
Since we spend a lot of time staring at the monitor, our eyes are forced to focus at a static distance. A simple exercise to keep your eye muscles in shape is to hold the index finger of each hand in line with your eye at different distances (one close and the other at arms length). Spend a second or two focusing on one index finger, then the other. If you want more exercises, I’ve heard great things about the Natural Vision Improvement Kit by Meir Schneider (but haven’t yet tried it myself).
Give them a rest
They work hard and deserve a break. Look away from the monitor, either in the distance, on the floor… anywhere they can focus on something different. Or better yet, close them (without rubbing) and cup your palms over your eyes so they block out any light for a few seonds.
Keep your fingers away!
Make it a habit to use a clean kleenex to rub or clean your eyes (better yet, go splash lukewarm water on them after you’ve washed your hands). Your fingers are full of bacteria and germs picked up from the keyboard, handshakes, etc. Keep them out of your eyes!
When you’re sleeping make sure your eyes are getting a complete rest by blocking out any light. If you can’t avoid ambient light, wear a sleep mask. Night time is a vital time when your eye (and the rest of your body) rejuvenates and cleans itself of toxins. Don’t force your eyes to work at night by exposing them to light.
While some experts claim that some natural light is good for the eye, prolonged exposure to UV light can damage your eyes. So wear proper gear and remember that it doesn’t have to be sunny for rays outside the visible spectrum to exist.
If you have any other tips that I’ve missed, I’d love to hear them.
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