You’re enthralled within the pages of a good book, have been for hours. The pages begin to blur and you know you should get back to reality. Our eyes are not immune to exhaustion, and today, books come in various formats. Kindle and other mobile-formatted books revolutionized the way we consume our knowledge, but now we spend more time staring at a screen. As difficult as it can be, your eyes need a break, even if you’re reading the old fashioned way.
October is National Book Month, and autumn is the perfect time to curl up with a good book. But before you dig out that long list for books to read, make a note to set aside time for resting your eyes. Reading a newspaper or a thick novel may take dedication, but the same goes for keeping your eyes healthy. To help with that, we’ve put together some helpful tips for easing the strain on your eyes, and still maximize your reading time
- Ensure you are reading in a room with good lighting. Forcing your eyes to read in a dimly lit room will cause unnecessary strain and wear out your eyes.
- Take frequent breaks, even if they are brief. Utilize the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, alter your gaze for at least 20 seconds to a distance of at least 20 feet to allow your eyes to shift their focus and use different eye muscles.
- BLINK! It’s so simple, but sometimes we forget to blink when we’re reading a good book. Your eyes need to stay moist. Add eye drops if your eyes get too dry.
- Find out if your eyes need corrective lenses. If you are shoving the book into your nose, it might be time for a comprehensive eye exam at the Michigan Eye Institute.
- If you wear contacts, take them out when reading, and switch to glasses.
- Switch to audio books. Every now and then, your eyes need a complete break from reading off of paper and screens. Audio-formatted books are an excellent way to continue your adventures, without the added strain on your eyes.
One additional way that you can help your eyes is to eat foods rich in antioxidants, which prevent free radicals from forming and damaging vital cells in our bodies. Antioxidants are naturally present in nuts, legumes, and berries — such as goji berries, blueberries, and cranberries. Herbs (such as cilantro and clove), artichokes, and dark chocolate are also antioxidant-rich sources, as is green tea.