How to Protect Your Eyes While Puzzling
Hello Puzzle Fam!
This month I'm talking about taking care of your eyes! Our eyes help us identify the slightly lighter blue piece in a gradient sky and see all the details to piece together puzzles we love so dearly. Some fantastic puzzlers puzzle with visual impairments, and watching them can be amazing! However, most of us rely heavily on our eyes and lighting to help us, especially in speed puzzling.
Over the years, I have realized I have sensitive eyes. So being a speed puzzler, how do I take care of my eyes? One of the biggest things I do is wearing blue-light-reducing glasses. My work environment has me in a lab surrounded by screens, monitors, iPads, and fluorescent lights. And I know I'm not alone.
Today, most of us are surrounded by LCD screens and fluorescent lights at work which has increased the amount of blue light we experience. A recently published study reported that 59% of young adults and adolescents spend an average of 22 hours per week staring at a screen of some form (Magid et al., 2021). I want to preface that not all blue-light is bad! Blue light benefits in low doses include decreased depression, skin problems, and sleep problems. Unfortunately, the quantities we experience blue light at can cause eye fatigue. Additionally, it can cause eye strain and musculoskeletal pain, increasing the likeliness of headaches. Besides visual problems, too much blue light can suppress melatonin, change our circadian rhythm, and increase our heart rate (Ide et al., 2015)!
Blue light glasses can help decrease variables that increase our eye fatigue, which can influence our puzzling! I notice if I forget to grab a pair of blue-light-reducing glasses. These glasses work because they have a yellow tint that changes the wavelengths of the light as they hit the lens before hitting our eye.
Blue light lenses can be added to most glass prescriptions now, but purchasing a pair might be worth it even if you don't wear glasses. I have bought a variety from Amazon for less than $20 a pair. Wearing a pair may decrease some of the eye fatigue you experience from work or your day-to-day habits of looking at your phone, TV, or other screens. Which overall may improve your puzzling abilities!
Ide, Takeshi, et al. "Effect of blue light–reducing eye glasses on critical flicker frequency."The Asia-Pacific Journal of Ophthalmology 4.2 (2015): 80-85.
Magid, Hoda S. Abdel, et al. "Disentangling individual, school, and neighborhood effects on screen time among adolescents and young adults in the United States." Preventive Medicine 142(2021): 106357.