7 Tips to Alleviate Dry Eyes

Hey Everyone!

Hope you are all doing well!

A few weeks ago I noticed that I had developed red squiggly lines in the whites of my eyes. As the days passed I noticed that I was getting more and more of these red squiggly lines.

I became a little concerned and I scheduled an appointment with an eye doctor. Side note: I hadn’t been to an eye doctor in about 20 years.

The eye doctor performed a full medical eye exam and fortunately overall my eyes were in good health but the major problem was that I had a moderate case of dry eye.

After coming home and doing some research about dry eyes I learned that dry eyes are a very common eye concern among individuals of all ages including children. However, it is especially common among older adults.

Basically dry eyes occur when your tears are not able to properly lubricate your eyes. This can either occur if your eyes don’t produce enough tears or if they produce poor quality tears. Human tears contain water, lubricating oils, mucus and antibodies.

Symptoms:

Dry eyes usually affect both eyes and the following are some symptoms:

  • Itchy or burning feeling in your eyes
  • Mucus in or around your eyes
  • Eye redness
  • Sensitivity to Light
  • Feeling like something (like sand) is in your eye
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Poor night vision
  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Blurry vision and fatigue

Remedies:

Warm Compress:

Simply dipping a clean washcloth in warm water, wringing out the excess water and placing it on your eyes for around ten minutes a day can really help with irritation that comes with dry eyes.

The only problem with this method is that after a minute or so the heat will evaporate from the washcloth and it won’t be as warm. In order for a warm compress to gradually reduce dry eye irritation there must be a consistently warm washcloth on the eyes.

One solution is to simply continue to dip the washcloth in warm water whenever it cools off. A slightly more costly but convenient solution is to purchase an eye mask (they usually go for around $20) and just microwave it and place it on your eyes and it will keep a consistently warm temperature.

Baby Shampoo:

Unfortunately, one common side effect of dry eyes is crusty eye lashes. In my case, it looked like I had dandruff on my eyelashes, also some people may notice particle buildup near the edges of their eyes. Over time this can lead to further inflammation so it is important to clean the eyelids and the surrounding skin. My eye doctor recommended using baby shampoo. Simply put some baby shampoo on your fingertips and massage your closed eyes especially near the base of your eye lashes.

Blink More:

One of the easiest possible remedies for dry eyes is to simply blink more. However, when we are staring at a screen for a prolonged period of time it is very easy to forget to blink. Some people swear by sticking notes with blink reminders on their laptops or computers.

Consume More Omega 3’s:

Research has shown that Omega 3’s can relieve many of the symptoms of dry eye by helping the oil glands in your eyes to work properly so that your eyes regain their natural moisture. Sardines, salmon, tuna, and mackerel all contain omega 3 fatty acids. Some other options include walnuts, flaxseed, and a variety of different vegetable oils such as canola and soybean oil.

Stay Hydrated:

This tip is also pretty obvious but what some of us may not realize is that staying hydrated can also help your eyes stay moist. The necessary water intake varies for every person but in general eight to ten glasses is a good goal to aim for. Certain water rich foods such as cucumber, oranges, and watermelon can also go a long way in helping you stay hydrated.

Wind Shield Your Eyes:

Particularly windy and dry weather can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly. If the weather is especially windy it might be helpful to wear wrap around sunglasses to give your eyes extra protection. Also, when you are at home make sure to protect your eyes from hair blow dryers, air conditioners, and fans which can all be drying to your eyes.

Use Eye Drops with Caution:

Before going to my eye doctor I had no idea that I had dry eyes. I purchased redness relieving eye drops but unfortunately these did not help much and they made the pain much worse. After doing more research on eye drops I have learned that it is best to avoid redness reducing eye drops as much as possible because these eye drops only temporarily reduce redness and in the long term the more you use these redness relieving eye drops the more your eyes will become dependent on them.

These eye drops work by temporarily relaxing the blood vessels in our eyes to hide the redness for a short period of time. Basically the more we use these redness relieving eye drops the more dependent our blood vessels will get and the more often we will need to use these eye drops.

Now, when it comes to dry eyes, not all eye drops are bad. My eye doctor recommended that I use Refresh Celluvisc eye drops which are very lubricating eye drops that help to keep the surface of the eye moist. Many people also recommend artificial tears for dry eyes. When using these types of eye drops always try to go for the preservative free eye drops to avoid any irritation and other harmful side effects of the preservatives.

Since dry eyes are amongst the most common eye concerns for many people I hope that this post will be of benefit.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

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Here’s How Your Smartphone Can Save Your Life

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re al doing well!

I think that it is safe to say that nowadays most people carry their smartphone with them wherever they go. Although our smartphones can often be a source of distraction for us, most of them have a potentially life saving feature called Medical ID.

As its name implies, Medical ID is an especially helpful feature to have if someone is in an emergency situation. During an emergency, Medical ID, which is available on both Apple and Android phones can help first responders identify the patient, find the contact info for the family or loved ones of the patient, and especially help them learn a bit about the medical history of the patient.

The good news is that Medical ID is a free smartphone app. If you have an iPhone, the Medical ID app is called Health and it is the app with a pink heart on a white background. If you have an android phone, the Medical ID app is the one with a red star on a white background.

Regardless of what type of smartphone you have the Medical ID app will ask you to fill in your basic medical information about yourself such as your name, age, height and weight. It also asks if you have any allergies and if you are currently taking any medications.

I know that for many people, taking the time to find this app and fill in the information may sound trivial and unimportant. However, the reality is that we never know if or when an emergency may occur. As the saying goes: “its better to be safe than sorry”. I really hope that this post will convince at least some of my dear readers to take the time to find and fill out their Medical ID app.

With Love,

Yasmin

Tech and your Eyes: Eight Tips to Protect Your Eyes

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

According to the research I have come across, the average person spends anywhere from six to nine hours a day behind a screen.

If we count both work and leisure many of us spend almost all of our waking hours behind some sort of screen.

All of this screen time can lead to eye strain and some symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • red, dry, or irritated eyes
  • eye fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • tension headaches
  • pain in the neck and shoulders

I have to admit that I am personally very concerned about the effects of technology on our overall mental and physical health but especially on our vision because our eyes are key in helping us see and process the information on our screens.

Before writing this post I did a little bit of research on the effects of technology and screen time on our eyes and the general consensus seemed to be that aside from the negative effects of blue light, screens are not that damaging to our eyes because they do not emmitt the most dangerous forms of radiation such as x-ray radiation.

I am definitely taking this conclusion with a grain of salt because this type of technology is still so new. Throughout the course of human history humans have survived and thrived without these screens and just in the past ten years or so these devices have proliferated and they have become a constant fixture of our lives. Ultimately, I believe time will tell the true effects of technology on our overall health and well-being and especially on our eyes.

However, I am definitely a firm believer in prevention being better than the cure so here just a few preventive tips that can help protect your eyes from damage:

  • When you look at any screen for an extended period of time your eyes will become tired. Most experts recommend the 20-20-20 rule where you look away from the screen every 20 minutes at something around 20 feet away for about 20 seconds.
  • Keep your phone as far away from your eyes as possible but still at a distance where you can comfortably read without straining.
  • Often when we are really focusing on the screen in front of us we forget to blink and this can lead to dry and irritated eyes. In order to avoid this try to remind yourself to blink at frequent intervals. If you keep forgetting to blink, try placing a sticky note to remind yourself.
  • When you are sitting behind a computer screen, sit about an arms length away from the screen.
  • Always adjust the brightness of the screen to make it ideal for your current settings. Avoid screens that are too bright because your eyes have to work extra hard to focus on a screen that is too bright.
  • By now most of us have heard about the damaging effects of blue light. In an ideal world its just best to completely avoid screens before bed. However, if you’re like me and you still use your screen before bed consider turning on nightshift on your iPhone. This feature reduces the amount of blue light in favor of warmer tones. I think that many Android phones also have a similar feature called Night Mode.
  • When you are working in the evenings try to position yourself so that the light source, such as your light bulb or lamp, is behind you rather than behind the screen because this will put less pressure on your eyes.
  • Always try to take frequent breaks to rest your eyes. Go outside, stretch, grab a bite to eat, whatever works for you!

I really hope that you found these tips to be helpful. I do want to add that recently, about a month ago, I started taking an eye supplement with 20 mg of Lutein and 4 mg of Zeaxanthin.

Its far too early for me to recommend this product but it claims to support vision and macular health.

I am just taking this supplement as a preventative measure to help protect my eyes. I have noticed that nowadays I rarely get any tension headaches whereas I used to get them quite often before taking this supplement.

I was first introduced to this supplement by my aunt who claims that her vision has drastically improved after consistently taking this suopplement for one year.

Honestly, my vision is not the best so I would definitely be very pleased if it does improve my eyesight. I guess only time will tell.

With Love,

Yasmin

Five Tips for Optimizing Your Smartphone

Hey Everyone!

Hope you’re all doing well!

I feel that most people who own a smartphone use it throughout the day every day.

I definitely believe that excessive use of our smartphones can potentially harm our physical and mental well-being.

On the other hand, smartphones often do help us stay connected to our friends and family and the world around us.

Without a doubt, smartphones do have their pros and cons however, in this post I would just like to share a few simple tips for optimizing your smartphone experience.

Cover it:

If you’re clumsy like me I would definitely recommend investing in a good case to make sure that if an accident happens and you drop your phone, its not completely damaged. If you have an iPhone or any other phone with a large glass screen I would also recommend getting a screen protector just to ensure extra protection. I cannot count how many people I have seen who have accidently shattered their screens. The initial investment in a good case and screen protector can definitely be worth it in the long run.

Battery Saving Tips:

In order to make sure that your phone is always charged you can invest in a portable charger, which is basically a battery power bank which you can insert the USB of your charger and charge your phone without an outlet. However, there also a number of free ways to increase the battery life of your phone:

  • Always make sure to close power draining apps and tabs.
  • Even if your phone has 80 or 90 percent charge try to put your phone in low power mode so it increases the battery life.
  • If you’re in a hurry but you do have access to an outlet, put your phone in airplane mode so that it charges faster.

Consider adjusting the settings of your phone. For example, you can tinker the email setting so it doesn’t automatically update and you can adjust the settings so that your apps do not automatically update.

Passwords:

Some apps and websites require us to put in our passwords before being able to access the app or site. However, if you have different passwords for different sites (which you really should because it’s a bad idea to use one password for everything) you might occasionally forget your password.

One possible option is to download a password manager app on your smartphone. You use one password to access this app and this app manages all of your other passwords and it can autofill your passwords whenever you need them.

When you’re trying to create a password, a longer password is often safer than a shorter one. In order to make the password easier to remember choose chunks of data to make it easier to remember. Also, the more crazy or exotic your password is the more likely you will be to remember it.

Tune Down Distractions:

The best solution to avoid the distractions of your smartphone is probably to turn it off completely or hide it far away or even in another room when you are trying to get work done. However, other options include turning on the Do Not Disturb button if you have an iPhone or putting it on airplane mode.

Likewise, if you’re like me and you don’t even turn off your phone at night you can put it in airplane mode, preferably 20 to 30 minutes before bed. This way your sleep will not be disrupted and when you wake up in the morning you will only see the time and you won’t be distracted by a barrage of notifications.

Keep It Clean:

I know this sounds quite gross but studies have found that often times our smartphones have as much as ten times more germs than public toilet seats!

The average adult touches their eyes, noise or mouth an average of 16 times an hour and this could lead to a variety of potentially dangerous germs being transmitted onto their phones. Some of the viruses that can be transmitted are the flu virus, viruses that can lead to the common cold, noroviruses that can lead to diarrhea and vomiting, and the E. Coli virus.

As scary as this sounds, the good news is that the solution is fairly simple and straightforward. All you have to do is clean your smartphone at least once a week to prevent the buildup of nasty germs and viruses. I personally prefer using pre-moistened anti-bacterial wipes however, please do some research to make sure that you do not accidently damage your phone during the cleaning process. Click here for a helpful article.

I am definitely not tech savvy but I do hope you found these tips to be helpful.

With Love,

Yasmin

 

Cell Phones and Age

Hey Everyone! Hope you’re doing well!

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It is safe to say that my smartphone is a vital part my own life and cell phones in general and smartphones in particular are an important part of the lives of millions if not billions of people all across the world. As scary as it sounds for some people their phone have become a basic necessity just like air, food, and water.

I think that one of the great things about this technology boom is that many people of all social and economic backgrounds have access to some sort of a cell phone. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITC) there were 7 billion registered mobile subscriptions by the end of 2015.

However, the question that I have been pondering over is, what is the ideal age for someone to get their own phone?

The reason I have been thinking about this is because I have two teenage brothers one who is 16 and the other is turning 14 in June. My two brothers (especially the younger one)  have really been wanting a cell phone for quite a while now.

More recently, their desire has really increased and finally my parents have agreed to purchase a smartphone for each of them.

My parents are honestly very firm but loving. In psychological terms they would be an ideal example of authoritative parenting. They decided that the time has finally arrived to make this dream of my brothers come true because the majority of their classmates and friends have their own smartphones and they did not want my brothers to feel too alienated.

Of course, this was one of many reasons why my parents made the decision. However, I think that this was the reason that convinced me the most. Just to give you guys some background I come from a hard working middle class family.

However, we live in a fairly affluent area where many of the families are upper middle class and based on my own observations, along with those of my family, the majority of the students at both of my brothers schools have their own smartphones.

This is why I agree that since it is something that is just so common in our area I feel that it is best that my brothers have their own phones as well especially since we are blessed that that my parents can afford to provide them with this privilege.

As you all know the teenage years are a time when people are especially influenced by their friends and peers and it can be especially easy to feel isolated when everyone around you has something that you do not.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center 88 % of American teenagers (ages 13 to 17) have their own cell phones and 73% percent of them have smartphones.

Handing a smartphone to the hands of a teen can be risky however, I feel that establishing some firm rules can definitely be helpful.

In our case, my parents have written a full contract for each of my brothers and made them sign the contract. Any major violation of the contract could result in them losing their phone.

The contract contains the basic but important things such as promising to do their homework before playing on their phones, returning the phone to my parents each night at the set curfew, being respectful to others, etc.

 

I would really love to read your comments. What is your opinion on this issue? Do you think that there is an ideal age where an individual should be able to get a cell phone? Or does it depend on the person and/or situation?

I am looking forward to reading your thoughts!

With love,

Yasmin