Are Screens Slowly Destroying Your Sight Blue Light Exposure and Eye Health with
11:44AM May 15, 2023
red light therapy
In the UK when the weather's horrible, most of the year, on an overcast day, when there's a lot of clouds out there still a lot of UV light which has been emitted, which can contribute towards cataracts, or things like pinguecula, which is yellow structures on the front of the eye, which happened, you know, fourth, fifth or sixth decade of life.
Hi friends. In today's episode, I'm sitting down with druvan Patel, who's an optometrist, and also the founder of Aki shield, you may have seen him on Dragon's Den, he's also been featured in Forbes and USA Today and his company, Aki shield recently won a king's Award. He knows a lot about eye health, which is why I wanted to get him on the show, because it's something that I think we just so easily take for granted. And many of us are not as aware as perhaps we should be about how the things we're doing on a daily basis, may be damaging our eyes. And these problems can start to show from our 40s onwards, and one of those things is actually the blue light that's coming in from our screens. Many of us spend long hours at computers each day. And we might not be thinking about the effect that it's having on our eye health and also our skin health. And so I now have Aki shield screen protectors on both of my screens that I use, I have one on my phone. And I have to say it's really helped to reduce eyestrain, just having less blue light coming in. But the long term effects of having that blue light exposure are quite profound. And you're going to be hearing all about that today. So without further delay, let me introduce you now to driven Patel.
So I'm really thrilled to have you here today driven because I haven't had anyone yet on the show talking specifically about eye health and how to look after it. And I'm really thrilled to be able to kind of dive into the detail with you. First of all very warm welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. It's fantastic to be here.
Yeah, it's really cool to have you here. It's been a long time coming. I think it took us a while to get this in the calendar. It did. First of all, obviously you you founded Aki shield, and you're really committed to enhancing people's eye health. And I know you're kind of launching new products this year, and even the ability for people to kind of self test their eyes, which is amazing. How did you get into this area initially.
So I set out to study to become an optometrist in 2013. And one of the reasons I did it was because I loved one I loved biology. And second, I loved working with people and helping people. And in the UK, we have a optician chain known as Specsavers, and I did some shadowing of an optometrist. And you know, I really enjoyed my time when I was working, supporting not to underestimate mainly shadowing, I learned about how, you know, children or even adults can go away, and they put on glasses, and they just feel like wow, I can see, you know, such a incredible thing to give. So that's how I got involved in the professional was I really wanted to make an impact to help people but also, I had an interest in biology and optometry was one of those subjects which I learned where you can also get into entrepreneurship quite easily compared to other professions. And what I mean by that is, opticians can open their own optical stores to provide glasses and sell products in that sense. And I always had a bone in me, which wanted to do something for myself. And I always envisioned myself having my own kind of clinic or something like that. So that really, you know, kind of stood out for me. And that's why I wanted to go into the optometry landscape.
Awesome. In terms of looking at people's like the health of their eyes, I think I've been definitely we were talking offline earlier. And that I think, was the thing that inspired you to help people to be able to self test is busy, people don't get their eyes checked often enough. And obviously, they're really fundamental and say a lot about our health as well. What are the key things to begin with, that you think we need to be doing to really look after our eye health?
Yeah, so first and foremost, is making sure you're getting them tested. I think we, you know, we are under the assumption that if we can see, then our vision is good. But you know, a good way to think about it is actually we have a final colour vision system. So when both our eyes are open, we we sometimes feel okay, we can see very well but actually, if you have a weaker eye, because both eyes are open, they're going to be working together and in watching mask any potential issues that you have one of your eyes. And if you do have a weaker eye, that means you're the eyes gonna be working harder, and therefore you might be getting those might be getting that eyestrain that headaches towards the end of the day. And it might be because there's something wrong but if you're not getting your eyes tested to find out if there is something weaker in your visual system, then you're not going to know what to do about it. So I think first and foremost is Making sure you can get your eyes tested and UK, it's every two years, you should do that, just to, you know, have a look. And you can pick up things like melanomas and tumours in the eye as well. And, you know, diabetes can be picked up as well. So there's a lot of things that from a general health as well that that might show up in an eye exam.
And the children would it be it's generally more often than that right to pick up any kind of problems that they might have with their sight?
Yeah, definitely. Before, you know, before the age of eight, you know, it's, I believe it's their key period of development in the eyes, you know, so if a child has a lazy eye or squint, it's very difficult to fix or try to support that child as they get older it was once again the eyes develop and become the kind of fool ourselves by the towards the teenage teenage years, it's more difficult for any expert or healthcare professional to support that child. So definitely, for children, it's every 12 months generally, but some children are on recalls of six months if there's something identified, or there's a family history of a squint, or if the parents have myopic, so they both wear glasses, and you know, then we're at risk.
to optimise my sleep each night, there are two things that I do that are my non negotiables. The first is to get outside and get early access to morning light. And the second one is to block blue light in the evening with blue light blocking glasses. The best lenses I found are those by Bong charge, they don't let any of that sneaky light come in underneath the lens, which I used to find really annoying when I was reading my Kindle and things like that. These lenses block all the blue light, and they're super high quality. And the great thing is they look really stylish, too. On charges glasses are made in optics laboratories in Australia. They're not mass produced in factories in Asia. And they have science backed technology that's been tested to ensure they work and as I say they have dramatically improved my sleep. I'm sleeping longer, deeper, and I'm feeling refreshed the next morning. And the cool thing about their glasses is they come in non prescription prescription and reading options. They also have glasses for every need including computer glasses to help with digital eyestrain, light sensitivity glasses for helping with low mood and migraines, and the blue light blocking glasses that I'm using for improving sleep. We also have other amazing products such as Blue, low blue light bulbs, red light therapy devices, EMF 5g protection, I have that on my mobile phone, I have that on my kids mobile phones, and I also wear their bond charges EMF blocking bracelet. And they're 100% blackout sleep masks all backed by science and bond charge ship worldwide in rapid time with easy returns and exchanges. And you can save a call 20% of any of their products in their range, simply go to bond charge.com forward slash Angela and use coupon code Angela to save 20% That's boncharg.com/angela and use coupon code, Angela, to save yourself 20%. It's interesting actually that you say that because I noticed a deterioration in my own eye sight. When I was when I hit the teenage years and my no grey I wear contact lenses. I got to kind of minus five prescription. And so my expectation my husband is a bit short sighted. But my expectation was my children would then because of the two of us, they would develop short sightedness. And so far that hasn't shown to be the case, I think my eldest is 15 Just a really little tiny bit but almost never wears them. What is impacting that? What determines whether or not we do become short sighted?
Yeah, so there is an element of family history there and touch when your children, you know, go on longer without having the need of glasses. So you've got an element of family history, you've also got the element of nurture. So as we grew up, what has been the child's surroundings. So there's a lot of research that actually shows that. At the moment, if children are spending a lot of time indoors and not outdoors, they're more likely to have short sighted short sightedness, aka myopia. And that's because when children look at something at a near point, let's say a screen for example, or or a book or they're drawing all the time, if they if the visual system doesn't have the ability to look at infinity, which is basically something far away right where your eyes are no longer looking inwards, they're looking kind of straight ahead. The visual system really does not like that and it changes the makeup of your cornea and it actually makes the child more likely to have myopia and therefore need glasses to see far away so that's that element of the nurture side of things that is, at the moment causing a significant change in the makeup of children and the requirements of glasses, we're seeing massive increases in children needed glasses for to see far away because of the change in habits of of close at work.
Interesting. So my kids, like playing a lot of sport is probably to their advantage in terms of their eye health, not just their physical fitness,
definitely, the more more they can be outside, you're definitely going to be having a lot more less likelihood of myopia.
Interesting. And what about the fact that one of the things I'm noticing just sticking with children for a moment is schools, they seem to certainly in the private schools, you know, when we've been looking around senior schools, they pride themselves on the fact that they have all this technology, that the kids have iPads or laptops, and they're utilising those that sort of concerns me, and I know that you're concerned, from a blue light perspective. What are your thoughts around that? And what can we do to protect the developing AI?
Yeah, and it's, it's a real challenge, because I understand why why schools are doing this, you know, technology is, is an enabler, it can help us learn faster, and learn in our own time as well in that way. But you're right. The main concerns around it is, how many hours are you using these screens a day. And if you look at the data, on average, children are now using screens upwards of six hours, whether it's for learning or leisure activities, which is a lot. And, you know, the concerns that come with that is not just Yes, it's going to affect the visual system, because of blue light causes increased stress on the visual system. So children can suffer from Thai dry or itchy eyes from that. But also, as we're now using these devices in the evening, the blue lights also suppressing melatonin, which makes it harder for the child to fall asleep. And, you know, the last thing parents want is their children not being able to sleep, or was that just going to cause a problem, not just for them, but also the parents because they, you know, they're not one has to have an irritable mood the next day, for example, as well, because they're not sleeping well, the developments not in the right way. But apart from the eyes and sleep factor, it's that element of children are getting too used to having the unlimited ability to have dopamine coming into their bodies, because when they use in screens, and they're on social media, or they're learning something about it, there's this dopamine release that's happening in our bodies and brains, which is almost rewarding children for doing those actions. And then when they they go back to analogue setting, you know, maybe picking up a book or doing something that doesn't involve technology, there's research says there's less of dopamine being released in the body, so they're actually feeling less rewarded. So they're almost like a drug feeling that they should be using a device or, you know, they're not living life as they should be. But they're so used to it. So that's, that's also something that's really concerning and developing with all kinds of current times of the digital age
is concerning, isn't it? I noticed that I mean, and also, when you look at like, the research around the different forms of dopamine and how intrinsic dopamine, if you stimulate it through a sort of hard effort, it's going to last you a lot longer. Whereas if you get effectively cheap forms of dopamine from social media, for example, you need those continual hits, right? And just like adults, many teenagers, I think the first thing they do are looking at their phone right to see is there a message from my friend, even just getting a message? It doesn't have to be social media, right? That's stimulating dopamine, because you've just heard from someone.
Exactly, exactly. It could just it's that any interaction that's coming from, from that social media, for example, as you said, it's creating that dopamine release. And I always say when when we wake up that that first hour that when we wake is always that Holy Hour where we shouldn't be picking up screens or things that can influence our mind state, because it's, you know, when the mind goes into the alpha wave state, we're more susceptible to how our day is going to be impacted from our thoughts and our processes. As soon as you know, if at the moment children are using their phone as an alarm clock, it's a big no no, for me, I always advocate get something else as your alarm clock, you know, use a manual alarm clock, keep phones out the bedroom, because again, you're wiring, you're creating the structure for the child where as soon as they wake up, and as soon as they go to bed, the last thing they interact with is their phone. And again, it's that again, dopamine release, you know, turning off the alarm, etc. So, yeah, good habits of sleep. Hygiene is
really important, really important. What are your own habits then around when you're looking at, like sort of your own routine in terms of protecting your White House protecting against things like this? What sort of boundaries Do you do you advocate? I mean, I'm the same as you I think, the first hour when you learn to protect that it's just magical, and also just the inroads that you can make in your own success so dramatically different when you're intentional. But I'm really curious what do you What do you do? What are the non negotiables for you, from a health perspective, morning and evening, or even things that you eat, for example, that are nutrient providing for your eye health or your brain?
Yeah, so you know, one big thing for me, as I touched on just now sleep hygiene is in the bedroom, you know, there's only two things that I support, which is sleeping, or having sex, you know, that you shouldn't be doing anything else in the bedroom, because that's your holy space for you to fall asleep and have a well rested sleep. And again, if you change, if you're watching TV, or doing anything else in the bed, bedroom, you are changing how that how your body's getting used to, you know, weigh against sleep. So I think that's really important for me, and you know, me and my partner, my partner probably hates me for this, but I'm always kind of chipping away saying, like, we need to keep our devices out of the bedroom. And even though you know, a lot of people like to go on their devices, because it gives them a sense of numbing, you know, something where they can just relax and not do anything. It's just like watching TV, right. But also key things that I do during the day is to look after my eyes, especially is, whenever I'm using devices, there's two things that we can do immediately, which is one is the proximity of a device is made sure that it's at least an arm's length away from your eyes. Because distance is a is a is a really important factor in the impact of how screens or technology are impacting your visual system. So the further away they are the better, which is a good thing. Second,
said arm's length, right? Yeah. So you're looking at your phone, you sort of holding it out in front of you?
Yeah, so phone is a lot more difficult. Yeah, definitely with laptops and monitors the arm lens, but a phone, the you know, you can hold it, arm's length away, but you probably look silly. And it's quite difficult to keep your thinking taking.
The iPhone Pro Max is really heavy.
Like a little workout. Yeah, you know, smartphones are really difficult to keep keep up with that role. But I, I tried to stay off my smartphone as much as possible. And I use my laptop on monitors where possible. So yeah, make sure you know, just a quick check every time you want your desk or working onto them away from a laptop or monitors. The second element is brightness of your screen. So I always turn on the brightness of screens as well. Because again, that reduces the locks that reduce the intensity of the light source. Because again, you're looking at a direct light source, which is emitting a lot of light energy, which again, your visual system has a decipher breakdown, and then send a visual process that the information and then create an image for your brain. So if you can reduce the input that's coming through your eyes, then you're going to be also reduce the heavy lifting the visual system has to do. So those are two key tips that I I practice daily. And then the other one is the 2020 20 rule, which is just simple. I have adopted this slightly, but in general, it's every 20 minutes, look away for 20 seconds, 20 feet away or down the window down the corridor, right? Because what that does, it refreshes your visual system. And your visual system needs that because I mentioned earlier, there's a bit of a growth of children needing glasses because they just keep staring at things close up. It's because their visual system isn't having that break, and therefore, the cornea is changing and causing them to have short sightedness. So I've adopted it was 20 minutes for me is not realistic. So I do the 4520 20. So that's every 45 minutes. I you know, have a break. So that works for me it was 20 minutes can be disruptive if you're trying to work hard to get into deep flow state.
Yeah, for sure. Would you like a snapshot of where you are on your health journey right now with personalised advice from me on how to improve, go to your total health chat.com and take my 62nd bio hacking quiz. And I will send you your free health score and personalised report with recommendations on each area of my shift protocol for health optimization. Shift contains the five key pillars you need to focus on for optimal health, sleep, hormones, insights to track how to fuel your body with the right nutrition, light hydration and breath work and training for your body and mind. Go to your total health check.com To find out your score in each area and get personalised recommendations from me on how to improve it takes less than 60 seconds. And you can take the quiz as many times as you want to and track your improvement by following my guidance. Simply go to your total healthcare.com To get started. And what about then, in terms of like the changes that are happening, obviously like you've described those investments then they can only be reversed by something like laser surgery. How safe is that? I know quite a few people have that for short sightedness.
Yeah, so laser look it's a great is a great new technology that can help bring people the ability to see. You know, in most cases, laser is a very successful form of visual correction. But there are some risks and dangers which are talked about when people look for laser. You know, procedures, the main risk for laser is dry eye syndrome, and a lot of people that go and have laser correction, because the way it works is it's sending a laser to the anterior part of the ice of the cornea. And what happens is the structures get disrupted and your eyes end up becoming very dry for some people. Now, what that means is, some of these people then continuously have to use eyedrops every day for the rest of their life, which is quite a new phenomenon. You don't want to really be doing that if you've never done it before. But unfortunately, some people end up doing that and some people also can lose their visions was small amounts of time was again, the the eyes when they're when they're dry. They're not lubricated. And what happens is, if you imagine a clear window, it Frost's over, it becomes a bit cloudy. But when your eyes aren't dry, you have the nice process of your eyes becoming the window being nice and clear. So you can see. So, you know, there are edge cases of people that suffer from these types of problems. So overall, is a good process to have if you want to be a visual correction. But it does come with some risks,
like or surgery, I guess, in terms of like looking now at how can we protect the health of our eyes? Particularly from a sort of longevity perspective? What are the key things that we need to be thinking about? Obviously, you've mentioned things like, looking away from screens, minimising the blue light, as much as possible, I want to come back to blue light in a moment. But if we're looking at from sort of a nutritional perspective, I know like blood glucose, you mentioned there, you know, you can see from an eye test, things like diabetes, I think, my understanding is that things like old blood glucose control can actually enhance your risk factor for things like cataracts as well. Can you explain some of those things that people need to think about from a longevity perspective?
Yeah, definitely. I think one of the things that definitely gets not appreciated as it should, is just really protection. You know, even even in the UK, where the weather is horrible, most of the year, on an overcast day, when there's a lot of clouds out there still a lot of UV light which has been emitted, which can contribute towards cataracts, or things like pinguecula, which has yellow structures on the front of the eye, which happened, you know, in our fourth, fifth or sixth decade of life. But this is generally happens, because when we're younger, as children, we haven't been wearing sunglasses outdoors. And we do need to think about making sure our children can wear sunglasses, but also us as adults is we should always wear UV protection, because that's going to protect the eyes from any long term damage in that sense. And then on the other side, in terms of nutrition, to fortify your natural defence against UV or blue light. Having green vegetables in your diet is really important. You know, with green vegetables like spinach, kale, what you're gonna be getting is lutein and zeaxanthin, which are properties, which, as I mentioned, strengthen the area and the retina and the macular, which help be in your natural defence that filtering out that harmful UV and blue light. And a lot of people especially in this day and age, we're eating more processed foods were eating, we're not eating whole foods or vegetables in that sense. And there's just less and less of that in our diet and unfortunate is going to suffer from that in the long term. So do do at least get a handful of you know, your green spinach a day, for example, or kale and get that into your diet. And that's going to really help the other nutritional side of things is also your omega threes, omega threes and sixes, what they do they lubricate your eye because these are the oils that are produced by your glands in the eyes. So eating things like fish can definitely help. But if you're vegetarian or vegan like myself, there's algae oil now which you can also have in capsules and supplement form which can also help instead of having to eat fish. So, those are my my kind of two takeaways when it comes to the nutrition side is green vegetables and omegas they will look after 90% of the pie when it comes to maintaining submission on the eyes.
Interesting. And the Omega threes have like DHA is good for Eye Health. Right? And also for the brain.
Yes, it is indeed helps both and, you know, we've got to remember the the visual pathway the eyes that connects to the brain, you know, the actually the eye extends right into the brain itself. So it's more connected than a lot more People think,
yeah. And what exactly are cataracts.
So cataracts. It's a structure. So if we imagine going back to our window example, we have a lens in the eye that sits behind the pupil, which is the black part of the eye in the middle. And this structure allows light through. But as we, as we get older, the structure starts to become a little bit more dirty, it starts to become a bit more thicker, starts to have some colour within it. So again, if you imagine a clear window, it's getting darker, it's getting a bit murky. And as we age, this process happens, and it stops light entering the eye. So that's why as we get older people say, Alright, I'm going to get my cataract removed, it's because the cataract has got thick, and it's also become so dirty that it needs to be removed, but it's not letting the light through. So therefore, we can't process any visual information and send any images to the brain in that sense. So a cataract is the lens, a defect in the lens, which needs to be removed. And what happens when there's a surgery is that's replaced by a clear window, a clear lens, which hasn't got any of those thickness or or mugginess. Of of what's happened due to your natural exposure in life.
Interesting. And so would you start to notice this, if, for example, you finding when you're driving your night vision isn't quite as good as it used to be? Would that be a sign of that? Or?
Yeah, so signs of cataracts are definitely glare. So if you're, if you're, if you're driving at night, and you're, you're noticing extreme glare from driving it, definitely a sign that your cataract has progressed, and you might need to do something about it. So that's one to watch out for. And definitely, it's a lot harder now as well, because these new new cars have such bright, add headlights that you know, even for someone that doesn't have cataracts, it's quite difficult to drive when you're driving at night. So, you know, I feel for people that have cataracts and drive at night, we will use new cars on the roads.
I'm glad you said that, because I was thinking I really hate the black lights. And why is that? And is it going I'm getting older, but now you've kind of quantified it and said well, maybe it is the LEDs. So that makes me feel slightly better. But it is a URL to you, right? Like particularly when you're in a kind of country lane, right where I live out in the countryside, and you've got the people got their full beams on. It's, yeah, it can be quite difficult on our driving, especially forgetting to turn off. So yeah, with just kind of going back now to looking at like the filters and things because I've had a having sort of tested your products and put the filters on my screen, and also tried the glasses from when I'm looking at an unfiltered screen, I just noticed that I feel less tense, right? It just seems to take the edge off. It's really nice. It's not, we were talking offline, it's not like a blue light looking lens where there is changing the colour, right. So you can still enjoy what you're doing. But it just takes the edge off that blue, which is really, really nice. It's kind of quite relaxing. But this also beneficial with the screen protectors. You and I were chatting about the fact that this can also cause it's not just the eye we need to be thinking about, but actually damage to the skin. Can you kind of go into that a little bit?
Yeah, certainly. So it's quite interesting, the skin element has definitely grown in the last two or three years. And it started with Unilever, they did some research and they looked at how an individual skin was impacted. After 40 hours of use of a screen, it was comparable to being on a beach for 20 minutes. With no no sunscreen, you know blue skies and direct sunlight, which is quite a lot of UV and blue light, right. And what they showed was that people that were using screens for this amount of time, they found that there was a deterioration in their skin because it was increasing the inflammation of the skin, which is causing breakdown of collagen of the of the skin itself, and therefore accelerate in the ageing process of the skin. So when this study came out two or three years ago, I mean, this is when the skin side of things started to really pick up. So now you'll find that actually a lot of skincare companies including blue light protection, as well as UV protection, and that's by, you know, putting in things like iron oxide into their creams to absorb that blue light element as well. But something that's definitely progressing with early signs are that, you know, also limiting the exposure from blue that can help with the skin as well. And especially if you think about how we use our devices, they're not pointing at the rest of our body, they're pointing at our face. And that's that's the point we care about. You know, when it comes to skin, we want to all look youthful and look our best. But if we're using screens and that contributes and emits blue light, then it's also our face and the skin that can fit on the face that's going to be impacted.
So actually, we're putting a kind of filter on the screen itself is a good way to minimise that.
Exactly, you know, with the products we make, Okay, should we filter out that harmful blue light so it's reduced Using the impacts of that blue light on your screen, and again, going back to my tips, if you also increase the proximity, and you also decrease the brightness, you're getting going to be reducing the impact as well. So it's about thinking about the things that can also help reduce that net impact.
And what about like, in terms of Allison say to clients and programme members for circadian alignment, as you're getting some blue light early in the morning is really important and going out. A lot of fire hackers talk about, you know, going out and looking at the sun, my understanding is we need to be very careful with looking directly at the sun. But what are the limits in terms of what we can look at comfortably, but also safely in terms of sun exposure, and when the sun is at different kind of low solar angles? Because I know that has a quite a profound impact on circadian rhythm.
Yeah, I'm a big advocate of making sure you get natural light into your system. Upon waking, you know, the first few hours. Definitely, if you're in a country where the sun has already risen, you know, get out there. And make sure you get that natural lighting because it does, it does set your circadian rhythm and play you know, it reduces it reduces the amount of sleep hormone in your body melatonin and increases the amount of cortisol was your body now knows it's the daytime. So it's definitely worth doing. And, you know, definitely don't look at the sun directly. So if anyone's doing that, please don't watch you'll burn a hole in your your retina. That is not worth it. Believe me?
Even at sunset. Yes, that
you know, at sunset. I always avoid caught out always proceed with caution. Because you know, when truly is Sunset, you know, is it is it a time where the sun is, is just gone below where you can't see? Or is it when it's already started to set. And there's quite a you know, there's an in between period there where there is risk of how that light might be impacting your eyes. So I always say it's best to avoid looking directly at the sun, where possible, you're going to be you know, you're better off looking at a sun when it's sun setting rather than in peak peak position, you know, midday, but I always proceed for caution there. Because it's just general best practice when you're wanting to talk about the eyes.
Interesting. And what about some people have asked me in anticipation of this interview, I have a couple of questions is what about when you feel when you've been looking at a screen and you might have covered this actually, by that 2020 20 Rule looking away, where you feel a buildup of pressure in the eye, some people will experience redness in their eyes when they've been staring at a screen. Is that something that's concerning? Is it is it causing potential long term damage? What's happening there?
Yeah, there's, it's mainly short term implications there. And if you imagine, just like when we go to the gym, we have muscles which work, you know, when we're doing an exercise, they become tired, and you need to rest to kind of replenished and we'll go again, is the same thing with our visual system, if we're looking at screens for a certain period of time, and you're not giving your visual system a break. Especially if the, let's say the wait in this scenario is a high intensity bright LED screen. Especially when it's so high your visual systems having to you know, absorb all of that and then send the correct information to the brain. But if you're not giving it the right breaks, then you're just going to continue suffering from tired eyes in that moment. But also, the long term effects on the day is usually get to the end of the day. And then you find Well, you know, might I feel really exhausted, because you've put up with that short term stress, but then afterwards, your body's kind of like right, it then really feels it. So you have to put in during the day, the right process in place to make sure that you're not having that experience. And I know a lot of people at the moment they suffer from this, you know, some people take painkillers to make these, this pain go away, etc. But it's just we need to just be conscious of how we're interacting with devices and the way we're working.
Yeah, goodness me, I guess we definitely need to reduce time rather than take painkillers. Right. That's slightly concerning. What about in the situation where someone's had a concussion, that, again, is something that's really common for kids, obviously, it's not ideal in terms of the damage that concussions can do and the impacts on the brain later in life. From an AI perspective, sometimes when they kind of recovering from a concussion, it's difficult to learn, it's difficult to focus. Is there anything that you would recommend that?
Yeah, you know, with concussions, it's quite difficult because, you know, the brains still trying to find, you know, get back to its normal self. So I always, always suggest, you know, keeping it really simple, doing things that the visual system is not going to be feeling that greater workload on so again, being outdoors being you know, I'm looking at infinity, as I like to call it further away means that the eyes are going to be in a relaxed state, less bright lights in the surroundings as well. And, you know, with screens, I, I'd avoid them if someone has a concussion, if I'm honest, because it's just not gonna be serving the recovery well, was we know from research that the eyes and the brain the visual pathway, it just doesn't like extra stimulus, especially when the brain is trying to remodel itself back to its normal self after a trauma accident where someone suffering from concussion. So just keep it really simple. Avoid screens, look at infinity do things which are in a relaxed state to help that individual get back to them not back to their normal self.
Yeah, as quickly as they can. Red light therapy is a really common thing among among the biohacking community. It's something I like myself. I hear varying answers in terms of whether you can look directly at the lights or whether you should be wearing a lens when you're looking at Red Light Therapy devices. What are your thoughts there?
Yeah, so with red light therapy, there's a lot of research that's coming out which so there's some benefits, from red light therapy to various structures. I think when it comes to eyes, yes, you can look at red light, it's definitely not like blue light in the sense of how blue light is harmful for the eyes. But again, the intensity of the light source is really important. You can have any colour light, but if the intensity of the light source is very high, you are again, you're going to have a detrimental effect to your eyes. So it really depends on what light source you have in front of you and the brightness of it. If it feels if you've got a light source in front of you, and you're squinting, or you're feeling like you want to shut your eyes, that's a sign for you to know that actually, this light source is too bright, and you need to turn it down. And that's when I'd encourage actually, if you want to keep at that level, I'd encourage wearing some form of eye protection to make sure that that light stimulus isn't impacting your visual system in a negative way.
It's interesting, isn't it? Because I've heard it's in some respects, sometimes it can enhance eye health that you think is then down to the distance that you are from that light.
Yeah, yeah. It's always about proximity and brightness of, of the light source. Whenever we're talking about these things, and you know, you want you can get very scientific with this and try to calculate the amount of locks and the distance and but I imagine most people aren't going to be doing this when they're carrying out, you know, their day to day because everyone's so busy and they don't have the capacity to do that. So it's always proceeding with caution in that sense.
And what about migraines? I know a lot of people suffer with that. Are there any tips if there are people listening who have who suffer with migraines that you think from an AI perspective, vision, anything that they're doing, that you found can really help to either alleviate or or even better prevent?
Yeah, it's quite interesting with migraines are quite linked. You know, migraines, again, is there's similar to headaches, but they're really less understood than headaches, because there's so many things that that can set them off. And as you as you know, as a nutritionist, you know that there's things in your diet that can set off migraines that the way you work, the way you live, can also impact migraines. But I think from an eyecare perspective, all of the guidance that I've said before, when it comes to blue light and making sure you have the correct etiquette to look after your eyes, it all plays into reducing the chances of a migraine because again, migraines, from what we know migraines are more likely to be set off because your visual system has an extra load that is not been able to be handled. It's your it's your brains way of saying, right, something's quite wrong here. I need to I need to show a sign or signal that something's happening here. But unfortunately, there is no there's no extra tips or, or anything that that that's known about the moment that can help reduce the onset of migraines or, you know, manage them better apart from the general tips I've provided for looking after your visual system.
Interesting. What about as well, female health in terms of the impact of going through the menopause of her that that actually can impact eyes and that drop in oestrogen?
Yeah, so with menopause, one of the main things is dry eyes. You know, it's it's the fact of the anterior eye that's suffering here and it's again, the less lubrication of the eye the tearful and that causes things like the itchy sore eyes, poor vision, red eyes as well because when your eyes are dry, you know, the white part of the sclera increases the vasodilation and therefore you see redness of the eyes. And these are all common symptoms that we see with anyone going through menopause. So ways that you can mitigate that is trying to increase your uptake of omega threes that can help in the menopausal period to support dry. So that is one thing that I would definitely recommend.
Interesting. Thank you for that. Finally, before you go, you mentioned that you've brought something exciting out that's new where people can actually do an AI test from home. Is that available? Is that just in companies? Certain companies and organisations, you've rolled that out? or can anyone now test their eyes from home?
Yeah, so we we bought. So to give you some background into this 18 months ago, we started speaking to a dozen HR directors and Chief of Staff at various companies. And we found that the adoption rates of eye exams in the UK with these companies were two to 6%. So really low. And with my optometrist hat on, I knew we're all we're using screens more than ever to work. So if employees are only getting it to assess it at that small amount, something needs to be done about it. And the main pain points where people didn't like admin involved with clunky forms, they didn't like time and travel. And then also they had anxiety of being in a room with a potentially strange optometrist like me for 30 minutes, which put them off getting their eyes tested. So what we developed was an eye screening tool, which anyone can do from their smartphone, mobile laptop on monitor, and you can check for vision or prescription changes, colour vision issues, contrast, sensitivity, astigmatism, depth, perception, and astigmatism. And what will happen afterwards, you get results, which tell you right, Angela, you know, in your left eye, we've we've noticed that potential risk of astigmatism you need to now do something about it. And that is available on Aki short.com. So we have also launched that to the consumer market, but we are increasingly working with employers and benefits providers to get it into supporting employees.
Amazing. I love that. It's kind of democratising AI house, isn't it? People can kind of take it into their own hands and sort of look after their eyes themselves. And yeah, just make it it makes it a lot more accessible. Because I think we're all everyone. I guess it's so easy to put off the opticians, the dentist, isn't it all these things are so easy. They just kind of get shelved and or pushed back. Should we say a bit longer between appointments than they should do?
Yeah, definitely. I look we're not, we're not trying to replace a full eye examination. What we want to do is empower people to have the right information to identify as a problem and then say, right, we do recommend you to get full eye examination but take this information with you. So optometrists can have the appropriate initial guidance already and spend more time to provide the help they need for you was that you said everyone doesn't have time. We forget and having something quick like ice cream or like what we've provided can give them information and also a little bit of a kick up the bomb to do something about it.
Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing all of that. Where can people find more about you and your products?
So they can find us on Aki show.com, which is OCU sh i ELD or you can follow us on socials, which is Get off your shield. And if anyone wants to reach out to me personally, it's true in Patel on Instagram or LinkedIn. I'd be happy to answer any questions.
Amazing. Thank you. We will link to all of that in the show notes. Thanks again for coming on the show. It's been been a pleasure.
My pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
Thank you for listening to today's show and for your interest in health optimization for high performance. If you're new to my podcast, you may be interested to know that you can get a free health score and report complete with personalised recommendations on how to optimise your sleep, nutrition fitness and resilience in the top link in the show notes below. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Links to everything we talked about are also in the show notes and if you enjoyed today's show, please subscribe for more