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Ways to maintain eye health with screens

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When we use digital devices such as phones, tablets, and computers, we are exposed to blue light. Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum and has shorter wavelengths. While exposure to natural sunlight during the day can boost mood and alertness, excessive exposure to blue light from screens in the evening can disrupt our sleep cycle.

Digital-related eye strain affects people of all ages. If you spend hours a day using digital devices, you might notice your vision blurs and your eyes feel achy and tired. Your eyes may also become dry and with tears or stings. Eye strain from the use of digital devices is not different from the symptoms you may experience when reading, writing, or doing “close work,” such as sewing for long periods.

There have been studies on blue light using cells in a dish and animals, but these experiments did not mimic the natural conditions of blue light exposure to live human eyes. So far, there is no meaningful link between blue light and damage to human retinas or age-related macular degeneration. However, the level of device usage impacts eye health.

Eyeglasses with special blue light-blocking filters claim to improve sleep, reduce digital eye strain, and prevent eye disease. However, spending money on these glasses is optional for computer use.

Blue light from computers will not lead to eye disease. While overexposure to blue light and ultraviolet rays from the sun can raise the risk of eye disease, the small amount of blue light emitted by computer screens has not been shown to harm your eyes.

Sleep can be improved without special eyeglasses. Simply decrease evening screen time and set devices to night mode to promote better sleep.

Digital eye strain is not caused by blue light. Symptoms of digital eye strain (such as dry eyes, blurry vision, and headaches) are linked to how we use our devices, not the blue light itself.

How device usage affects eye health

Experts at Rochester Optical, a United States-based optical clinic have outlined some effects of digital devices on the eyes.

Straining your eyes

Constant exposure to digital screens, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, can lead to digital eye strain. This occurs due to the extended periods of focusing on a screen, which can cause eye fatigue, eye discomfort, and blurred vision. The repetitive movements of our eye muscles to focus on screens without proper breaks can result in strain and discomfort.

Blue light exposure

Smartphones, tablets, computers, and other devices with screens emit blue light, which often disrupts our sleep patterns and negatively impacts our health. Prolonged exposure to blue light may contribute to retinal damage, increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Reduced blinking and dry eyes

When using digital devices, we tend to blink less frequently, resulting in dry and irritated eyes. Continuous staring at screens reduces the natural rhythm of blinking, leading to dry eye symptoms.

Increased myopia rates

Children and young adults are especially vulnerable to myopia (nearsightedness) due to excessive screen time. Regular eye examinations conducted by eye care professionals can help detect and manage myopia early on. By monitoring your child’s screen time and scheduling routine eye exams, you can actively protect their eye health and reduce the risk of myopia progression.

Eye fatigue and headaches

Staring at screens for prolonged periods can strain the eye muscles, leading to eye fatigue and headaches. This discomfort may negatively impact productivity and overall well-being.

Tips to prevent digital-related eye strain

Blink frequently

Humans normally blink about 15 times per minute. However, studies show that we only blink about five to seven times per minute while using computers and other digital screen devices. Blinking is the eye’s way of getting the moisture it needs on its surface. Make a conscious effort to blink as often as possible. Consider placing a sticky note on your computer screen to remind you to blink regularly.

Follow the 20-20-20 rule

Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a chance to reset and replenish themselves.

Use artificial tears

If your eyes feel dry, use artificial tears to refresh them.

Adjust your screen settings

Set your devices to night or dark mode in the evening. This reduces screen brightness and minimises the impact of warm colours on your circadian rhythm.

Take breaks

Frequent breaks help reduce eye strain. Consider using a humidifier if you are often in a dry, warm room.

Adjust your position at the computer

When using a computer, you should be sitting about 25 inches (right about at arm’s length) from the screen.

Proper ergonomics play a vital role in preventing eye-related discomfort. Adjusting the height and position of the screen, as well as using ergonomic accessories like monitor stands and chairs, can help maintain a healthy posture and reduce eye strain.

By creating a comfortable and ergonomic workspace, individuals can decrease the risk of eye strain, preventing potential long-term complications. Investing in ergonomic solutions such as adjustable monitor stands, ergonomic keyboards, and chairs with proper lumbar support can significantly improve your overall comfort and reduce the strain on your eyes and neck.

Consult physician

Regular visits to an eye doctor can help identify and address these issues promptly, ensuring optimal eye health, as well as personalised care and advice tailored to your specific needs, reducing the strain on your eyes.

Eye care professionals at Rochester Optical recommended using blue light filtering glasses or screen protectors as a preventive measure. These protective measures help reduce the harmful effects of blue light and promote healthier eyesight. By wearing blue light glasses or using screen protectors, you can minimize the effect of blue light and protect your long-term eye health.

Remember, protecting your eyes involves more than just worrying about blue light. Proper eye care includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle, regular eye examinations, and practising good screen habits.

By following these tips, you can keep your eyes comfortable and healthy while using digital devices.

Health

Scientists discover blood proteins that could warn of cancer years before diagnosis

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Scientists in the UK say they have found proteins in the blood that could warn people of cancer more than seven years before it is diagnosed.

In two studies funded by Cancer Research UK, scientists identified 618 proteins linked to 19 types of cancer, including colon, lung, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver.

The proteins included 107 associated with cancers diagnosed more than seven years after the patient’s blood sample was collected, and 182 that were associated with a cancer diagnosis within three years.

In the first study, scientists studied blood samples from more than 44,000 people in the UK Biobank, including over 4,900 people who subsequently had a cancer diagnosis.

They found the proteins by comparing those present in people who did go on to be diagnosed with cancer and those who did not.

In the second study, the scientists looked at genetic data from over 300,000 cancer cases to find which blood proteins were involved in cancer development and could be targeted by new treatments.

The scientists found 40 proteins in the blood that influenced someone’s risk of getting nine different types of cancer.

The scientists concluded that some of these proteins could be used to detect cancer much earlier and potentially provide new treatment options.

‘FURTHER RESEARCH REQUIRED’

They however cautioned that further research is needed.

Ruth Travis, senior author of both studies, said to be able to prevent cancer, there needs to be an understanding of the factors driving the earliest stages of its development.

“These studies are important because they provide many new clues about the causes and biology of multiple cancers, including insights into what’s happening years before a cancer is diagnosed,” she said.

“We now have technology that can look at thousands of proteins across thousands of cancer cases, identifying which proteins have a role in the development of specific cancers, and which might have effects that are common to multiple cancer types.”

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Health

Scientists say a spoon of olive ‘anointing’ oil a day can save your life

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In many Nigerian churches, olive oil is used as a spiritual means of healing; it’s called anointing oil. It does have healing properties, though it’s not necessarily spiritual.

The Mediterranean diet—a diet rich in olive oil—causes better brain health and lowers heart disease risk. You can replace vegetable oil with olive oil for a healthier life.

Researchers found that replacing margarine or mayonnaise with olive oil daily reduces the risk of dementia death by 8–14%, but this benefit was not observed when using other vegetable oils or butter.

A scientific study with over 92,000 participants showed that a spoonful of olive oil might be linked to a reduced risk of death from dementia, regardless of whether the person had a good or bad dieting habit. People who included at least half a tablespoon (seven grammes) of olive oil daily saw a 28% lower risk of death than those who didn’t regularly consume it.

According to the researchers, olive oil’s antioxidant qualities may have an impact on why it contributes to longevity. These components may pass the blood-brain barrier, thereby directly affecting the brain and cardiovascular health, respectively.

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Health

One in 12 men tested in Lagos showed signs of prostate cancer, says Goke Akinrogunde

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Goke Akinrogunde, a medical practitioner and chairman of the honorary members’ forum of the Nigeria Air Force Officers’ Mess (NAFOM) Ikeja, says one in 12 men tested in Lagos showed signs of prostate cancer.

WHAT IS PROSTATE CANCER?

The prostate is the walnut-sized gland found in males.

It is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, surrounding the urethra — the tube that carries urine out of the bladder.

The prostate makes some of the fluid that is part of semen.

When a man has prostate cancer, it means the cells in the prostate gland have begun to grow out of control.

It is unclear what causes these cells to grow out of control.

CREATING AWARENESS

Akinrogunde spoke at the HMF-NAFOM annual general meeting on Wednesday. The event held at the Sam Ethan Airforce Base, Ikeja.

The event which had A. I Sambo, president of the mess committee (PMC), and T. Abu, the base’ commander, in attendance, featured a health session themed: ‘Men’s health, women’s concern: erection and prostate matters’.

The HMF is the honorary civilian wing of the air force officers’ mess.

Akinrogunde noted that the meeting serves as an avenue for socialisation between the military and civilian members of the mess.

He emphasised the importance of addressing the health and wellness of older men, while citing the prevalence of prostate cancer in Nigeria as the rationale for the theme.

“This meeting is a good opportunity for the civilian and military members of the mess to interact. As civilians, we are in the civil society, it is important that we think of what will be beneficial to both segments of the mess and hence the topic,” he said.

“Prostate health is always very relevant and while the discussion might not be common, prostate cancer is quite common in out society. For example, there is a study that was conducted in Lagos sometime which shows that one out of twelve men tested showed signs of prostate cancer.

“This is a good opportunity to bring the awareness to our people.”

Taiwo Alabi, the guest lecturer, who was represented by Tunji Olakunle, an endourologist, said factors directly linked to the occurrence of prostate cancer include race, age and genetics.

He added that men aged 40 and above are encouraged to conduct the baseline prostate specific antigen (PSA) test every six months to detect the likely occurrence of prostate cancer.

He encouraged members to practise safe sexual activities and to seek appropriate medical intervention where necessary.

The event saw the inauguration of new executive members of the HMF by A. I Sambo.

The executive inaugurated included Goke Akinrogunde as the chairman; Bello Olanrewaju as the vice chairman; Azubuike Chuks as the general secretary; Adesina Babatunde as the treasurer; Uzu Onyeka John as the entertainment officer; Sokoya Olufemi as the public relations officer; and Shina Badaru as the chief adviser.

The PMC also awarded TheCable newspaper the ‘numero uno corporate partner’ for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives for 2022-2023.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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