First thing:  This is not medical advise…

But, since it’s the time of year when we spend more time than normal around computers,  as someone who’s had eight eye operations over the past 35-years, I’ve learned more than I ever dreamed of about my eyes.

Avoiding Eye Problems

A regular visit with an eyecare professional is the best starting point there is.  But, even without that, there are some basics to be aware of.  UV control, vitamins, and eyestrain relief are good starting points.

On UV control, it’s not just something to think about when driving in the desert, boating, or running one of those “double-diamond” runs on a sunny winter slope.  It starts with controlling your electronics.

Light Color Matters

The fundamental problem is LED technology can drive into the lower UV range, so if you spend lots of time on a computer, if your screen has a “warm colors” setting, think about using it.

The normal color spectrum runs from infrared, to near-infrared, then deep reds and so forth.  As we’ve reported previously, there are certain “mixes” of IR, NIR, and Deep Red LED frequencies that seem to be beneficial when comes to healing.

While science is working up the details on “why” IR/NIR/Deep Red colors are so good for you, a half-guess would be it all dates back to DNA historical times when humans sat around campfires at night.  As the fires died down, there was still heat (and with that healing if injured) c oming out from the deep red embers – and heat could be felt but often not seen.  DNA likes infrared light, it seems.

As you more higher in light frequencies (measured in nanometers – nm) up the scale toward 300 nm from a starting point deep reds  and near-infrared spectrum down around 700 nm, the impact on eyes increases.  It’s not bad through the greens and such (around 530 nm) but once you pass “daylight white”  and head into the violet color light (above about 450 nm and continuing to 380 nm, or so, the risks to the eyes increase.  Once you have significant light input in shorter waves than 380 nm, the risks of eye damage increase quickly.

Soft-white (incandescent) lighting usually begins around 2,700 degrees Ke;lvin.  As light becomes whiter – moving up toward ultra-violet – the ”
color temperature” goes up.  The range considered “daylight” ios from 5,000 to 6,500K.  (Converting color in nm to degrees Kelvin is explained here.)

If you remember 6,000K is about 483 nm, that’s a practical limit some might be comfortable with.  HOWEVER, remember than LED lighting is not generally  full-spectrum lighting.  That is, the Sun puts out “daylight” not just at 483 nm/6000K, it also includes amounts of reds and greens in the mix.  LED’s may not.

Scientifically, your body clock – circadian rhythms –  are in part tied to the color of light you’re under.  If you want to lower your blood pressure and work at a relaxed pace?  Turn your monitor color adjustment down to “warm” or “incandescent”  (and toss a few drops of lavender into an aroma therapy difuser.  Want full-on-hyper smart?  Bump the monitor up to “daylight” and have a strong cup of tea or coffee.  You’ll be ready to jitter your way through any crisis in about 20-minutes.

Most mobile devices, like our iPad and the  Kindles have night settings.  They go to a very yellow, shading toward red, in order to reduce circadian activity.

How to “Fix” Your Computer

There are two very popular apps which address the dangers of too much computer “white screen” danger.  One of these is F.Lux which is available from the Microsoft app store, or directly from here.  The other is I.R.I.S.  which you can download for free from here.

They do slightly different things, but both will hold the line on UV exposure from monitors to some extent.  The main differences, since I’ve used and appreciate both, is it depends on your use case.  I use F.Lux for the simple reason that when I use the “cutting tool” in Win10, F.Lux doesn’t carry the amended screen color into the screen snag.  With I.R.I.S. presently, on my computer (i7, nVidia UHD graphics) the color change shows in the screen snip.

On the positive side, however, I.R.I.S. has a much tighter grip, it seems, on setting your monitor fresh rates.  Some people can get heachaches from long computer bouts.  Especially under 60 Hz fluorescent lighting.  There’s the potential for an “optical heterodyne (frequency mixing) from running a 30 Hz refresh rate and under a 60 Hz flicker rate of fluorescents.  Even more chance if you’re running 24 frame video, and so forth.

F.Lux has some pretty good special effects, particularly the grayscale option (a useful tool if you’re appraising different pictures to see if they “pop” as black & whites) and the “darkroom mode” is good, too.

On either, you can expand your mouse visibility *(extra large mouse, no trails, thanks) and by selecting “invert” the mouse is more visible over various colors (and won’t get lost over a black screen…).

I’ve belabored one more point many times over:  Get yourself dual  –  or monster – monitors.  I run a 55″ monitor in UHD mode, but set the Win10 screen scaling to 350%.  As a result, when I’m writing, the characters seen are about 12 MM high for capitals and 6-7 high for lower case to the baseline.  That’s with a screen distance of 24-inches.

If you’ve got a full-sized keyboard (the kind with a number pad right), my documents are about 3-inches wider than that as just over arm’s length.

Eyestrain be gone!

Monitor height is also something to be very particular about.  Most people set their monitors far too high for real long-term comfort.

When you are in a relaxed posture for long-term computer work, with your chair leaned back a bit, lumbar support adjusted, close your eyes and let them look where they will when you are in a really relaxed state…

Now open your eyes and, without moving anything, look straight-ahead.  If the center of your monitor is above where you “naturally look” it’s too high.

I just went through this with my ham radio desk (because there’s a lot of time spent in front of a computer when “working digital modes.”  The problem was I needed the 43″ (UHD) monitor above the radios.  I welded up some nice steel supports and put a 3/4″ varnished shelf on them with the monitor above.   Unfortunately that was too high and I got neck aches as a result…

The answer was to put in a backing plate and a hospital-type wide-ranging articularing monitor arm.  This lets me move the monitor up to 18-inches out from the wall and down, so it’s fully  “in my face” OR it can be flattened into the wall/window and raised for access to equipment.  $50-bucks well spent.

Back on Eye Problems

Most people have never seen a cataract removed.  It looks like a little semi-cloudy yellowish button.  When you have cataracts removed and interoccular lenses put in, two things can happen.

First, when you go to DisneyWorld, when many of the effects are in all but a bit of ultraviolet black-light for effect, the extended-range of your unfiltered eyes will reveal some of the “hidden Disney” tricks.  OMG there is so much steel bracing inside  Space Mounmtain…who knew?

The other thing, though, is the back of the eye gets more sensitive to UV and that’s why even with pretty good (not perfect) monitor control, IJ also wear prescription glasses with UV coating on them.

People ask all the time:  If my doctor says I need cataracts out, what should I do…now or wait?  I’ve told friends and relatives “ Just do it…”  Yes, there are risks, but eyesight is something to be treasured.

One of the items in our prepping supplies you may not have considered are some eye washes.  Another, because the epithelial layer of my operative eye is extreme sensitive, is I us Muro-128  from Bausch and Lomb several times a day.  This makes for clearer vision.

In the event the “crap ever hits the fan” you’ll want to constantly train yourself NOT to look int he direction of any “flash” you might see – that’s because blinding amounts of energy can come from such things.  And no, glasses aren’t likely to protect, depending on range and if you happen to have welding glasses on at the same time.

Glaucoma and Vitamins

Make sure when you get your eyes checked to get a solid Glaucoma test.  There are a number of treatment options and in states with medical marijuana laws, care to guess what one option may be?

Elaine had two minor (out patient) iridotomy’s done about six years back (or was it 9?).  That’s because she has very small “pressure relief channels” in the idea (long-since forgot the technical term for it).  But, essentially, her ‘over pressure” relief area was tiny such that in event of an accidental over-pressure, blindness might have resulted.  Precaution, but since we are still active, ounce of prevention is a pound of cure.  Talk to your doctor especially if you have glaucoma and/or high interocular pressures run in your family.

Vitamins based on AREDS2 are great!  It’s always fascinated me that a lot of consumers that a phrase like AREDS2 and just nod, knowingly without bothering to read the data or understand what it means.  AREDS2 was the Age-Related-Eye-Disease-Study, 2.

Accordinng to Wikipedia, what came out of AREDS (1) was:

The supplements had no significant effect on the development or progression of cataracts. “High levels” in this case were defined to be:

  • 500 milligrams of vitamin C;
  • 400 international units of vitamin E;
  • 15 milligrams of beta-carotene (or 25,000 international units of vitamin A);
  • 80 milligrams of the dietary mineral zinc, in the form of zinc oxide; and
  • two milligrams of copper as cupric oxide, added to prevent copper deficiency anemia, a condition associated with high levels of zinc intake.
    The results were reported in the October 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.”

This was studied in 1996-2001 and followed 3,600+ participants.

Then, after more research came the follow-on with data out in about 2012:

“The study was followed by AREDS2, a five-year study (starting in 2006) designed to test whether the original AREDS formulation would be improved by adding omega-3 fatty acids; adding lutein and zeaxanthin; removing beta-carotene; or reducing zinc.[5][6] In AREDS2, participants took one of four AREDS formulations: the original AREDS formulation, AREDS formulation with no beta-carotene, AREDS with low zinc, AREDS with no beta-carotene and low zinc. In addition, they took one of four additional supplement or combinations including lutein and zeaxanthin (10 mg and 2 mg), omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 mg), lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids, or placebo.[5][6]

The study reported that there was no overall additional benefit from adding omega-3 fatty acids or lutein and zeaxanthin to the formulation. However, the study did find benefits in two subgroups of participants: those not given beta-carotene, and those who had very little lutein and zeaxanthin in their diets. Removing beta-carotene did not curb the formulation’s protective effect against developing advanced AMD,[5] which is important given that high doses of beta-carotene have been linked to higher risk of lung cancers in smokers.[7] According to Dr. Emily Chew, “Because carotenoids can compete with each other for absorption in the body, beta-carotene may have masked the effect of the lutein and zeaxanthin in the overall analysis.”

One reason, other than using experimental red 660-700 NM laser light on her eyes in very precise doses, Elaine has managed to arrest and roll-back age related macular degeneration, we believe is her combination of taking AREDS 1 and then moving to AREDS 2 vitamins religiously.

In my own eye adventures, I’m doing 2X AREDS2 plus 5 GM or more Vitamin C per data *(plus Lysine) (Pauling et al) and my eyes have held steady to improved slightly.

There are few reasons to take supplements in general, but AREDS2 vitamins daily seems to us a well-documented case.  That along with the other age-researcher on things like NAD+ and so forth.

Home and Shop Lighting

One place where you can really benefit from “light color awareness” is in how you choose “light colors” for your home.

Most of our home is in wood and a color of red Elaine likes called  Fire on the Mountain.  Goes well with woods, a white trim, or a dark trim.  The light color that works best seems to be in the 4000-4800K range.  Gives the place a brighter than incandesant feel, but not full daylight, so it’s comfortable in the evenings.  The livingroom, use more at that time, is down in the 3000K range…again, staging the light with the activity, time of day.

In the workshop,. lighting over power tools is bright, but NOT what.  The metal lathe, for example, is about 3,500-4000K.

And to show you what the difference in color temps looks like, notice on these LED 5000K overhead shop lights how “white” they look and how there’s a bit of “hazing” around them in the camera exposure…

When you’ve had a number of eye operations, that haze the camera sees is very similar to what the recovering eye sees, except only more-so.  Drops of the saline helps.

On the other hand, putting in some new LED panels over the electronics bench in the office and this are 3000K 30 watt panels.  Look at the difference in color compared with the light above!

There’s some overloading of the CCD (charge-coupled device) camera resulting in  some haziness, here, as well.  But with a camera, you can sit down in front of a monitor and consider lighting color temps effectively and figure out how to really “dial-in” your living spaces to your desired “perfect settings.”

Write when you get rich,

george@ure.net