The most valuable tool in a photographer’s arsenal is not the camera, but the eyes. I’m no photographer, but I take more pictures than I can even comprehend and I earn a living with a camera in hand – so it’s about time I looked after my eyes. While the camera captures the moment, it’s the eyes that find the winning shot. It therefore makes sense that you care for your eyes just as you would any other part of your body – if you were a footballer, you’d take care of your legs, so why should creative minds be any different? Eye-care often gets neglected in favour of other more discussed areas of healthcare, it seems like our eyes are something that are rarely ever mentioned. I’m blind as a bat to put it bluntly. I’ve worn glasses for the last 15 years, had an eyepatch, tried to get laser and was told to come back in 10 years when the technology had progressed. My eyes are so important, is it any wonder I’m more conscious now of taking care of them: I’m no expert, but here are my tips to protect and rejuvenate your eyes when working with cameras or in the long editing hours.
TAKE SCREEN BREAKS
After a successful shoot, be it through excitement or pressing deadlines, you may find yourself spending extended periods of time editing your photos on a computer. It’s healthy practice to take regular screen breaks to both rest and relax your eyes. When staring at an LED screen, the frequency at which you blink greatly decreases. This results in dehydrated and fatigued eyes. Not only that, but fixing your vision on a single object with no variation in distance provides no challenge for the muscles in the eye, so like any other muscle they will fatigue and become less effective with constant use. Regular breaks will prevent blurred vision and tired eye muscles. An eye care expert, such as Leightons, will have ZEISS digital lenses available, to provide a small boost in near focus and so help minimise eye fatigue – ideal if you need to spend prolonged hours in front of a screen.
SHIELDING THE SUN
The harshness of sunlight and UV rays possess many dangers, but many of them only widely talked about in reference to skincare. Protection is essential for the longevity and vitality of your vision. When out shooting, you may feel reluctant to wear sunglasses as you will be using your camera frequently. However, it can’t be stressed enough that it is very important to always wear a good pair of sunglasses with certified UV protection – it’s became so easy nowadays to find a fashionable pair, even contact lenses have UV filters now. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage eye tissue and lead to complications such as cataracts and macular degeneration, it’s not a risk you want to take.
PREVENTING DRY EYES
Being exposed to the elements when shooting outdoors poses all kinds of risks to your vision. Aside from the sun, other aspects of the environment such as the temperature and pollen can cause irritation and result in dry, red or sore eyes. Hot and windy climates can both lead to dry eyes, as well as hayfever or allergies that result in excessive rubbing of the eyes. Weepy or watery eyes can also actually be a sign of dry eyes. If you suffer from dry eyes, there are eye drops available which can moisturise your eyes and maintain hydration. You may also want to visit an eye specialist to see if you would benefit from specialised eyewear, such as close-fitting wrap-around frames.
While it’s a crucial tool for lining up the perfect shot, where possible you should refrain from spending too much time gazing through the viewfinder. This is especially true when working in low-light situations where there is a high risk of straining your eyes. As with computer screens, it is paramount that you give your eyes sufficient breaks to rest and relax any tension caused through overworking the eye muscles.
If you would like further advice around any of the areas discussed in this article, or are concerned about an aspect of your eye health, get in touch with the experts at Leightons. Specializing in both eye and ear care, you can get tailored treatment at a branch near you. As I say, I am no expert – but my eyesight is important, and I’ll do anything at this point to maintain it and keep my eyes as healthy as possible.