eye strain stop

How do you relieve eye strain

How do you relieve eye strain?

Maastricht, 15th December 2023

Tingling sensation in your eyes and headaches? Struggling to keep your eyes open? Eye strain is a common condition caused by intense focusing of the eyes during a task, such as during prolonged exposure to digital devices. This condition has become increasingly common since COVID-19, a period during which our reliance on phones and laptops has grown significantly. In this article, we will explore what eye strain is and provide practical steps to help prevent it.

eye strain stop

What is eye strain? Causes and symptoms

Also known as Asthenopia, eye strain is linked to physical fatigue of the eye. It occurs when your eyes get tired from intense focus, such as while driving, reading for hours or staring at a screen.

Several distinct causes can lead to eye strain. But nowadays, most of the oxidative stress leading to eye fatigue is caused by prolonged exposure to screens as the radiated blue light can induce photoreceptor damage (1, 2, 3). Common symptoms are:

  • Irritated or dry eyes
  • Blurring of vision
  • Headaches or sensibility to light
  • Body pain, neck or shoulder pain.

Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce eye strain.

Practical tips to prevent eye strain

Whether in the form of energy drinks or supplements, consumption of caffeine seems to be the first option for people who want to avoid fatigue.

While caffeine can indeed make you feel more awake and energetic, it’s essential to be aware that its consumption can also lead to adverse effects, including heightened stress, anxiety, or tachycardia (4). It is advisable to reduce caffeine consumption and to explore these alternatives:

 

Adapted equipment

To enhance your comfort, ensure you properly adjust screen settings like brightness and contrast on your digital devices. 60 to 70% contrast and brightness are usually recommended for reduced eye strain. The use of anti-blue light glasses or anti-blue light filters for screens is also recommended (5).

 

Yoga ocular exercises
Practicing eye yoga is a good way of providing effective relief for your eyes and minimize eye fatigue symptoms by increasing the efficiency of extraocular muscles (6). Here is a simple exercise: sweep your eyes from left to right and then up and down, always going as far as you can. Do this exercise for a couple of minutes twice a day.

 

Artificial tears
Using non-prescription artificial tears keeps your eyes moisturised and relieves eye irritation and dry eyes. If the symptoms of eye strain are causing major discomfort, see your eye doctor before getting any medication.

 

Eye health supplements to relieve eye strain
Nutritional supplements rich in antioxidants can promote healthy visual function (7). We will explore a few options to consider in the next section.

Ingredients for maintaining eye health

 

1.Zinc is a crucial mineral with various vital functions in our body. One of the important nutritional effects of zinc is slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration (8), Оne of the leading causes of visual disability worldwide. Studies have demonstrated that zinc supplementation, when combined with other antioxidants, can suppress retinal degeneration.

 

2. Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is essential for maintaining proper nerve function and overall eye health. Thiamine is responsible for transmitting visual information from the eyes to the brain. While there is limited direct evidence directly linking vitamin B1 to alleviating eye strain, its general benefits for nerve function may indirectly contribute to reducing eye discomfort (9). Adequate thiamine levels may help optimize nerve function, potentially reducing the likelihood or severity of eye strain (10).

 

3. Astaxanthin is a powerful carotenoid. It exerts its antioxidant properties in the ciliary muscle which controls focus in the eyes. Eye strain is usually present if this muscle is overworked by staring at a screen all day long. Astaxanthin works directly to relax the ciliary muscle and therefore reduce eye strain.

 

4. Anthocyanins are known to improve blood flow and concentration. Commonly present in red, blue, or purple fruits and vegetables, they contain a specific anthocyanin, Cyanidin-3-O-galactoside. This is also the main active ingredient of Brainberry®, the Aronia Melanocarpa extract researched and developed by BioActor. Clinical studies have validated this ingredient’s efficacy in improving focus and hand-eye coordination.


top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

Top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

Top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

November 22nd, 2023

All of our senses allow us to enjoy the world around us and vision is no exception. Cognition is essential to make something meaningful of all senses. As you can imagine, nutrition is crucial in maintaining healthy vision and cognition, since several nutrients are essential for the visual system. In this blog, we embark on a journey to discover these essential nutrients, and, as a bonus, discuss a few compounds that can actually enhance cognition and eye-health!

top 6 ingredients for cognition and eye health

The connection between cognition and vision

Cognition is a broad term encompassing thinking, learning, memory, and attention; in other words, it refers to all the mental processes that occur in the brain (1). Vision functions as a key information provider to cognition. This relationship between the brain and eyes is crucial since vision can impact performance of cognitive tasks, positively or negatively. Deterioration of eye performance is actually linked to a reduction in cognitive activities like reading and socializing, notably leading to a poor cognitive state (2).

 

Challenges for a healthy vision

In our modern-day society, numerous factors present challenges to the well-being of both our vision and cognition. One essential challenge is the abundance of time spent behind screens. Digital eye strain is a condition that is attributed to prolonged and extended use of digital screens typically related to symptoms like blurry vision, headaches and dry eyes (3).

 

According to the American Optometric Association, workers and regular users of digital screen devices are especially at risk. Screen time of two or more hours without interruption, can already lead to aforementioned symptoms (4). More than 60% of the working population in the US report having symptoms related to too much screen time. Moreover, >70% of children and adolescents exceed the two hour screen time as well (5).

 

Given the extent of the challenges, it becomes imperative to adopt proactive measures to mitigate their effects and safeguard eye health, and cognition by extent. By addressing these factors head-on, we can not only slow down the development of age-related degenerative processes but also actively support the resilience and vitality of our eyes and cognitive functions.

Taking care of our eyes

How should we take care of our eyes? Let’s discuss a couple of easily adoptable measures:

 

Regular eye check-ups. It’s advisable to have a comprehensive eye examination every two years, regardless of wearing glasses or not (6). Optometrists may prescribe glasses with anti-reflective coatings to protect eyes from harmful blue light emitted by electronic devices.

 

Adopting eye-friendly behavior. The 20-20-20 rule is a simple and effective measure to reduce eye strain. It encompasses the idea to look at an object at least 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes (7). In order to make this a habit, you can opt to put a timer every 20 minutes when you are at work.

 

A diet rich in eye-healthy foods. Nutrition is a crucial modifiable factor with the potential for a huge effect on our daily life. There are sources that naturally contain compounds that help in maintaining a healthy vision and cognition. You can think of eggs, fatty fish, certain seeds, nuts and berries.

 

Eye health supplements. If you are limited by inconvenience or geographical access for food choice, it can be tricky to consume nutrients in recommended quantities through a regular diet. Therefore, adding nutritional supplements is a great additional strategy for reaching the required amount of nutrients in a safe and convenient manner.

food for eye health

The 6 best ingredients for cognition and eye health

When choosing to select supplements for supporting cognition and eye health, you consider a couple of relevant ingredients. Let’s check out the six to keep in mind:

 

Vitamin A is essential to protect the outer surface of the eye, known as the cornea. It also maintains the function of the retina, which allows us to differentiate colors and shades. Vitamin A can be obtained from yolks, liver and some vegetables like carrots (8). Supplementation is advised if the recommended daily dose cannot be reached via the diet – 900mcg for men and 700mcg for women.

 

Lutein is a yellow carotenoid pigment, found in the central retina. Its function is to protect against the harmful blue light (9), often emitted by electronic devises. Lutein supplementation may reduce the risk of developing harmful eye conditions. Common sources of lutein include green peas, parsley and kale as well as egg yolks. The daily dose of lutein supplements is between 5-20 mg.

 

Astaxanthin is a well-known anti-oxidant, often referred to as “the king of the caretonoids”, with health benefits in multiple areas, amongst which eye health. It improves ocular blood flow, enhancing oxygen distribution and waste clearance in the eyes (10). Astaxanthin can be obtained by eating salmon, shrimp and lobster. However, for supplementation purposes, there is a great alternative through microalgae sources, which is a natural and animal-friendly alternative. Supplementation daily dose varies between 4-12 mg (11).

 

Omega 3 fatty acids are a great strategy for overall health support, including the eyes. Omega-3s could reduce the risk of dry eyes and high eyes pressure (12). Food sources of omega 3 include salmon, herring and tuna. Additionally, supplements derived from fish, krill or microalgae are widely available. The daily dose for supplementation ranges from 500-600mg.

 

Vitamin E protects the retina from harmful oxidation. It’s crucial for optimal eye health and can be mostly obtained by eating seeds and nuts (13). Daily supplementation dose ranges between 5-12mg (14).

 

Aronia berry extract. Aronia berries are fruits with a high concentration of anthocyanins, specifically cyanidin-3-0-glycosides (15). These compounds are linked to benefits for cognition, focus, and eye health. BioActor’s proprietary Aronia berry extract, Brainberry®, has been demonstrated to improve focus, concentration and hand-eye coordination at a low daily dose of only 65 mg (16, 17).