Update for COVID, December 21st, 2020: I think it is important to state that in addition to the general health benefits mentioned in my original blog post below, direct sunlight can increase vitamin D levels. And low vitamin D levels have been noted by Nature to be a major risk factor in those who contract Covid-19:
Vitamin D level is markedly low in severe COVID-19 patients. Inflammatory response is high in vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients. This all translates into increased mortality in vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients. As per the flexible approach in the current COVID-19 pandemic authors recommend mass administration of vitamin D supplements to population at risk for COVID-19.
From: Analysis of vitamin D level among COVID-19 patients.
As you can see, the researchers recommend vitamin D supplements. That seems sensible for people in high-risk groups or those who live in areas without enough direct sunlight. However, if you can, increase your vitamin d levels by getting sunlight!
Original post from February 2019:
For those of you who are on my private email list or following me on Facebook, you may have seen my various free sessions and posts and products on using Feldenkrais sessions for healthier eyes. My interest in the topic of eye health has largely been personal: After nearly 11 years working online and increasingly using both my laptop and cellphone, I had tension in my eyes and face that was very annoying. The Feldenkrais eyes sessions that I recorded and used had a wonderful effect, not only keeping my movement soft and supple in my eyes, but relaxing my entire nervous system.
But there was a problem.
The effects did not last very long.
I could do part of a Feldenkrais session in my mind and be stunned at how much tension was leaving my system. Tension of which I had only vaguely been aware. But then I would do a similar process several days later and again be stunned. But this time at how much tension had crept back into my eyes. The questions I asked myself, "How does the tension keep coming into my system again so quickly? And how can I make the relaxing effects last longer?"
Before we go further, keep in mind that I have been using and experimenting with Feldenkrais for decades. I do not need to listen to or do a "formal" session in order to benefit from Feldenkrais-ian ideas. I can simply think about what I want to experience and close my eyes and start to move my body and mind in ways that help get me where I want to go. I can pick and choose between various ideas that come to mind from different sessions and ideas and do them - experiment with them - play with them. Even so, having to continually engage in processes to keep my eyes stress free and optimal was getting annoying and time-consuming.
More Sunlight Makes A Difference...
However, one thing that noticed was that when I get early morning light when walking my dogs, my eyes seem to feel better. This was especially true when I took off my glasses so that the light could enter my eyes unfiltered.
That made me realize more and more that keeping our eyes healthy requires light - real light - sunlight. Sunlight that is not filtered through windows or eyeglasses.
I decided to experiment with increasing my "dosage" of sunlight. For the last few days, I have been walking my dogs even earlier in the morning - right before sunrise. And also swimming in the ocean very early in the morning when I can. And it has made a huge difference. My eyes feel more relaxed and comfortable during the day and at night. And my energy level and sense of well being have increased. I am astounded at the changes.
There is much more that I could say about this topic. And much more that needs to be said, especially about spending too much time in front of computer screens and cellphones. There is a great deal of research suggesting that too much screen time has negative effects on not only vision and eye functioning but also physical and mental health. I will share links and discuss this in a future blog post.
For now, perhaps take a moment to consider how your technology use is affecting your health? Are there simple changes that you could make to improve your health?
And please remember, I am not a medical doctor. And I don't play one on YouTube! I am not making recommendations, only sharing with you my personal experience and experiments.
So true, Ryan.
I have always been very myopic, now -9.00.
I was late comer to the screen but in the last 3 years I have been wanting to teach online and spending much more time on computer building skills and creating content but now I wonder about the cost to my eyes and sanity…Or is it being 60?
More anxious and depressed despite lots of self care things and two months ago, a sudden change in vision, diagnosed as wet macular degeneration. Not good. Would it have happen without screen? I do not know. And I consider myself a moderate user. Hardly use cell phone to text or read. Cautionary tale.
Have to fully agree with you Ryan. Since computers became needed for work, study and entertainment, my eyes have slowly deteriorated.
And then, the blow came – night driving became an issue, saw an optometrist and was diagnosed with glaucoma (hot eyes, not enough space for the blood vessels to deliver nutrients nor the nerve endings to deliver messages to the optic nerve) as well as cataracts. OMG – who would have thought, and I’m only 73. Computer death I call it.
Walking in nature, swimming even with a mask on and gazing into the depths of the ocean, anything to give my eyes much needed respite from the screen.
Now I’m finding it difficult to be at the computer, though still it has me by its grip!
Hi Stephanie, thanks for taking the time to comment. I get the impression that you WILL be able to get your eyes healthier or at least stop them from deteriorating.
I want to add that I was also have night driving problems. But walking in the early morning sun with my glasses off and doing Feldenkrais eye sessions has seemed to clear it up. Feeling much more capable when driving at night.
A cautionary tale indeed. There are many on the way, I fear. For now, I keep working online but have drastically limited my computer and cellphone use. Part of that has been to eliminate Facebook from my phone, turn off notification and – most important – I have mainly stopped using my computer when the sun goes down. (Blue blocker eye glasses have helped).
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