Last year we had health and safety ‘checkups’ at work, and one of my issues was that my eyes would get blurry at work and dehydrated. I worked in an enclosed office room, where people kept the blinds closed and artificial light on even in the day. Since I started working there my eyesight had been deteriorating and I couldn’t see into the distance that well e.g the train departure boards with the lights or posters on the road unless they were billboard size. So I had an eye test at work and the nurse basically told me that my long distance vision was unacceptable. Great I thought, just great.
I didn’t take the plunge and go to the optician though, it was daunting.
I did however, buy some bilberry extract tablets from Holland and Barrett. I’d read about Bilberry extract being beneficial for eyesight, and saffron for that matter too but saffron is very expensive and to have enough of it consistently would cost more than I could afford, plus it tends to go in cooking which could defeat the purpose. (Though I tend to eat raw meals mostly.)
I and a colleague who also bought some took one daily as recommended and initially my eyes felt a little better but there was no further noticeable difference 😦 I don’t know if my colleague had any results as unfortunately she buys things and intends to try them but if there isn’t instant results, they can end up in the cupboard for a while.
So I was thinking about what to do when another colleague told me about his mother who wears pinhole/perforated glasses everyday (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinhole_glasses). The idea behind them is simple and elegant in that basically when you put them on your eyes are trained to re-focus and because of all the holes, your eyes re-focus all over, training the whole eye. He told me that his mother would wear them a lot longer than recommended i.e. longer than 15-20min a day, and that she swore by them. Fine I thought, I’ll try those at some point. Shortly after that, my contract ended and I left.
However, I remembered the glasses and bought a pair. As you can see from the pic they look like sunglasses but they have no glass, they’re fully plastic with small holes in the lens areas. They cost a few pounds online and come in different styles. They’re also quite comfortable even though they’re not custom size, I say that because I have a sensitive nose and don’t like sunglasses.
I couldn’t wait to try them and wore them for 20min daily for a month and could see my eyes re-focusing as I wore them and my vision did seem clearer with them on. However, I didn’t really notice any long term improvement, especially when I didn’t have them on.
I thought to myself, I spent three years in a dark secluded room with tons of computers, electronic equipment and artificial lighting and I’ve spent a lot of my life on the computer and out of the sunlight. I have to make a lifestyle change. So I did.
I shifted my furniture around so the light from my window would shine onto my desk. I started to stop looking at my laptop screen every after every 30-50min of use, even if for a few moments. I’d look at the window, let my eyes refocus with the natural light and then go back to what I was doing. I started rolling my eyes around once in a while too.
I made the conscious decision to step into the light so to speak i.e. to spend more time in natural light and soak up any sunshine I could. I’ve also managed to cut down my computer usage, I’ve actively tried to spend 1-2 hours less on the computer each day. Everyone says there’s no problem looking at the monitor because the ones that gave off radiation were replaced years ago and lcd screens are safer. Ok fine, but they’re still bright and you’re looking directly at it, the light isn’t reflecting off it from another source and into your eyes, it’s coming from the device straight into your eyes, and with prolongued use I think there is an effect. There is glare and when you close your eyes you can see the luminescence. Plus my eyes get drier when looking at the computer. Additionally, when watching dvd’s/videos I sit as far back from the screen as my eyes will comfortably allow. I stopped watching tv ages ago but I think the same principles apply.
I stopped reading books or looking at the computer in insufficient lighting. I also realised that I would stare too hard at the screen or book even if I didn’t have to. I realised I had to relax my eyes, that if I could read something clearly, like in short distance then I didn’t have to focus/concentrate on it so much. I remembered I used to do that at work even when the monitors there weren’t angles but straight in your face; sitting too close and looking too hard at the reading source had become a habit. It’s like learning to relax your jaw, when you don’t even realise that it’s clenched or loosening your shoulders. I found my whole posture was tense.
Additionally I bought a higher dose of bilberry extract 2500mg and even though it says to take one a day, I take one every few days.
Results? Yes, a few months later my eyes are more hydrated, I can see in the mid-distance clearer for longer and if I haven’t spent a few hours on the computer my long distance is fine, I can even read the train departure times. My vision isn’t as it was, but it’s getting better.
Another step I’ve taken, recently, is to sleep in the dark. That might sound obvious and it is, but I think it’s something many take for granted especially in cities. Now I make sure my curtains are fully drawn and that the doors to other rooms are closed. I don’t sleep well generally and I have a lot of problems with noisy neighbours so I get a few hours at best and they tend to be spent tossing, turning, waking up and trying to get back to sleep. But since I’ve made the environment darker, I’ve found that the sleep I do get is deeper and my eyes don’t feel so dry when I wake up. I’m used to having a drink before bed but my eyes would still be really dry, now they’re not as dry and they’ve even started to just be ‘normal’ when I wake up.
I think I’ve picked up so many unnatural habits over the years and over time they’ve leached from me, I really do feel like the most reduced version of myself and now I’m determined to get myself back.