Tag Archives: eye care

Light Up Your Eyes

Dr. S.S. Gill, Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist

By Dr. S.S. Gill

In our continuing series on Eye Health, Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. S. S. Gill talks to us about how lighting may affect the health of our eyes.

Does reading in dim light do any harm to our eyes?

Reading in dim light does not change the function of our eyes in any permanent way but it does stress the eyes out!  The best lighting conditions for reading are ambient, rather than direct, and there should be no glare in a reading area.

Reading in dim light can cause eye strain which could make the reader uncomfortable, and therefore it is a good idea to set up a well lit reading space to make reading more enjoyable. The eye often finds it hard to focus in dimly lit conditions, which can be a cause of eye strain. People also tend to blink less while reading in dim light because they need to pay more attention to discern the details on the page, which can result in a dryness of the eye which feels unpleasant.

How do you feel after working in your office all day? Are you fatigued or tense? Are your eyes tired? Or do you feel relaxed and peaceful? Your physical comfort has a lot to do with the lighting in your office and your work station. Getting proper advice and understanding the principles of proper home and office lighting has an impact on the way people work in it. “Simply said, if you don’t feel good in a space because of its lighting, you won’t work as productively.”

Does the kind of lighting make a difference?

Warm white light gives off yellowish light that helps enrich the warm colours around us. They have a calming effect and help to relax an individual. You will find areas like bedrooms, lounges and hallways are better off with warm white light.

The cooler white light on the other hand is crisper under higher colour temperatures and appears more ‘normal’ in high lighting level situations. As a matter of fact, ‘cool white’ light gives off a bluer light that improves our ability to see contrasts making it good for work areas such as kitchens, laundries, workshops and offices.

However, although cool white light enables better contrast in vision, the output in the predominantly blue portion of the light spectrum does exacerbate glare. This is because light in the blue part of the spectrum and UV light have peaks which are very close together (approx 3500K), and this works the eye (photoreceptors) at a much higher rate than that of the warm white (2700K) light.  This means that your eyes may not be as relaxed in this environment if you are working long hours under this lighting.

In a natural sense, most people do tend to prefer ‘warm white’ light. In fact, we have been conditioned to find warm appearing lamps ‘normal’ at low lighting levels, since it mimics the colour of fire which we have used as a light source for thousands of years.

So, if you find that you are always having tired eyes, you may want to try changing your room or work space lighting to warm white and it should help make it less stressful for the eyes.

Based on scientific research, it is now known that excessive blue light damages the retina (back of the eye) contributing to diseases like age related macular degeneration. Yes, our eyes need light to work, but too much of the wrong kind of light and UV, and too little light can damage the eyes.

For more information on Eye Health, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: gilleyecentre@dr.com or visit www.fatimah.com.my.

Eye Stress – Part 2


Dr. S.S. Gill Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist

In our continuing series on Eye Health, Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr. S.S. Gill talks to us about Eye Stress.

People who are addicted to using their smartphones may be having fun with playing games or surfing the internet, but do not realise that their eyes are stressed by the hours of staring that they do. Our eyes are in actual fact biologically not designed to stare at a computer screen all day long. If we were out “hunting” and “gathering” as we were made out to be, our eyes would get their natural break from intensive close-range staring that many people do in today’s modern age.

All the staring at computers and smartphones for long hours each time means “we are getting our eyes to do something they were not meant to do”! Unfortunately for our eyes, we do live in a world surrounded by gadgets that demand this kind of staring activity. We may be switching from using our smartphone to using the computer, and then to reading an e-book on our iPad, placing the same stressful demands on our eyes. The long hours spent using these gadgets do not help as well.

Interestingly, both men and women suffer from eye strain although women are reporting more eye and vision problems associated with their screen time than men. This is possibly because women are more prone to dry eyes than men.

It is not really known why women experience the dry-eye syndrome more than men do, but it has been speculated that hormones do play a part in tear production. The hormonal changes that occur in peri-menopausal (just around the time when menopause begins) and of course menopause itself can explain why older women are more susceptible to dry eyes, which is contributing factor towards eye strain.

Dry air in an air-conditioned environment also adds to symptoms of eye strain and fatigue. If you work in a place where the air-conditioning is extra efficient, for example in a deli or supermarket, or in a corporate office environment, the symptoms and discomfort may worsen if you suffer from dry eyes.

This is why some women develop bloodshot eyes after spending some time in a supermarket and may even look like they have had a few shots of alcohol!

It is good to remember that our eyes are in their most relaxed state when looking into the distance. This is where the 20-20-20 rule is helpful when practised. For every 20 minutes of doing concentrated near-work, look 20 feet into distance for at least 20 seconds. This deliberate activity relaxes the ciliary muscles used for near accommodation, thus reducing eye stress.

Remember to consciously take quick and regular breaks to relax your eyes whenever you are going to be working long hours on concentrated near-work. You can also shut your eyes for about 20 seconds every now and again (that is if your boss allows you!)

For more information on Eye Health, contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at 05-5455582, email: gilleyecentre@dr.com or visit www.fatimah.com.my.