Today’s post features a few key takeaways from a recent Wellness Your Way podcast interview. Find the full episode here, and be sure to subscribe to Wellness Your Way so you don’t miss future episodes!
Guest Bio: Dhruvin Patel
Dhruvin Patel is an optometrist and entrepreneur encouraging a healthier relationship with technology in the digital age. Since receiving a development grant from City University in London, he has built Ocushield into an internationally distributed, MHRA medically rated product and established himself as a leading authority on blue light, its impact on vision and quality of life.
Dhruvin has been featured on Dragons’ Den, Forbes, The Guardian & USA Today – talking about eye health and blue light. With Ocushield, Dhruvin has helped sell over 200,000 + Ocushield products in 70 countries to protect consumers eyes. He was also named a finalist for Health Tech Founder of the Year at the 2018 Tech Founder Awards and Health Entrepreneur finalist at the 2021 Great British Entrepreneurs Awards.
Top Insights from Dhruvin Patel’s Interview
- Blue light causes eye strain and suppresses melatonin. Not only does this lead to an uncomfortable feeling of strain and headaches in the moment, but also can lead to long-term eye damage and disrupted sleep cycles. I wrote about blue light and its impact on health here if you want more.
- We all react differently to blue light. If you feel tired eyes, itchy eyes, blurry vision, fatigue, or pain behind the eyes after several hours of working in front of a screen, you’re likely reacting to blue light.
- Our eyes can adjust if we take small breaks through the day. Dhruvin recommends taking a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes, in which you look at something 20 feet or more away, which helps relax the eye muscles. (If this seems unreasonable, Dhruvin actually implements a 45-minute work period, and I implement a 50-minute work period! Better than nothing!)
- Our body regulates melatonin on its own, but blue light disrupts this. We should experience a natural increase in melatonin in the early evening, helping us ease into sleep at our bedtime. However, staring at screens suppresses the melatonin production, which means that you’re less likely to fall asleep easily. Even if you do fall asleep, you cannot as effectively get into deep quality sleep, which is where the brain flushes toxins, solidifies memories, and more.
- The natural blue light from the sun is good for our circadian rhythms. Getting outside (with sunglasses) and getting blue light from the sun between the time you wake up and midday is helpful to adjust your own rhythms and can stimulate energy.
- Kids’ eyes are twice as susceptible to blue light as adults’. Up through about age 15, the lenses are still forming, and the excessive blue light exposure of kids these days has not been studied (because people who are older now did not have this amount of exposure when they were children), but it’s likely to increase risk of macular degeneration.
- If you’re not going to wear blue light blocking glasses, a shield on your phone and computer can help. If you’re sensitive to how the picture changes when you use Night Shift on your phone, or you forget to put the glasses on, or if your kids won’t wear the glasses, consider a shield for your device. Dhruvin has offered 20% off with code Megan20 at the Ocushield website .
- Scrolling in bed is very detrimental! Dhruvin says the only things that should be done in the bed are sleep and sex. It’s hard for your brain not to feel like it’s on a “high” if you’re regularly scrolling through social media or working in bed – it doesn’t think of the bed as a relaxation space.
- Leafy green vegetables are very supportive of eye health. Green vegetables have high concentrations of lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C and E, all of which are critical for brain health. Omega-3s (from fish, walnuts, flax, chia, and more) are also helpful at preventing dry eyes.
Want to hear the full episode, including his “strategic coffee” habit, and so much more?
Head over here to catch the full episode with Dhruvin Patel!
Now it’s your turn! What is one thing you learned from this interview? What’s one thing you’re committed to changing after learning from Dhruvin?