Video: Hitting the books hurts your eyesight

The Belmont Vision

Video: Hitting the books hurts your eyesight

ISSUE: 10/25/07 > Features > City living not cheap, but thrills can be free

Photo by Josephy ShelbyFun doesn’t have to be expensive. Activities taking a stroll at Centennial Park and enjoying nature or people-watching, above, can be an exhilarating experience. Going to Nashville’s Public Library and reading a book or looking at right, is also a great form of free entertainment that can get you away from the stress of school. And, even on campus, you can take in some of the shows at the Curb Cafe – they’re popular forms of entertainment and most are free of charge or inexpensive.

Living in a big city is not cheap.

Neither is paying for a decent college education.

Since none of us are swimming in heaps of money in our dorm rooms, it’s pretty important to seek out what I to call “cheap thrills:” my specialty.

The benefit to living in a city Nashville is that there is always some kind of event, show or free activity to attend.

The following list outlines a few places I’ve found that won’t cause you to break your piggy bank, although, that does have fun potential.

Stay on campus!

There’s always some kind of show in the Curb Cafe, sporting event, intramural or recital in Massey. Plus, some of these have the benefit of convocation credit or free food, exciting for those of us who are sick of Ramen noodles or the caf. and want to graduate on time.

Nashville Public Library downtown on Church Street, free.

There, you can check out movies or books for free. For example, going back and reading things from grade school, The Giver by Lois Lowry, perhaps, could be fun and nostalgic!

Disc Golf and Putt-Putt, under $5

This is random but probably would generate the most competition of any other cheap activity you could do. Trash-talk and high stakes in the style of “Happy Gilmore” are an absolute must.

Both activities are super cheap and all you need for disc golf is a Frisbee and course (check

There are a ton of putt-putt places in the area and some even have go-cart facilities and batting cages.

Centennial Park, free

No other place in the city boasts such amazing prospects for entertaining people-watching.

Little children hitting piñatas at birthday parties, runners falling over a stray root, a hippie pulling around his “Skedaddle Hopper.” (I have personally witnessed all of these events and trust me, they’re hilarious.

) Not to mention, there is free Wi-Fi on the grounds. But who needs the Internet when you have real life in front of you?

Go shopping, free, sort of.

Nashville has some amazing shopping. Everywhere from Hillsboro Village to Opry Mills to Cool Springs Galleria and Green Hills Mall. Sometimes looking at the things you cannot afford is just as fun, as long as you don’t break down and buy everything you see. But if all else fails, get a pretzel and start people-watching.

Mediterranean Cuisine on 21st Avenue: Appetizers under $5

This is seriously the cheapest and most delicious Greek and Middle Eastern food I’ve found in the city. Appetizers come with plenty to share and their hookah is only $7. Also, the chance of talking with random Greek people and Vanderbilt students is thrilling.

Keep your eyes open and be creative

Work a music festival. Enter a random radio contest or call in to win tickets to a hockey game. Find someone with a version of old-school Nintendo and display your Mario Kart skills. Read your own accomplished verse at a poetry slam. Sing along with the starving artists on the streets of downtown. Organize a massive scavenger hunt or game of hide and seek. The list goes on and on…

You can have a sweet time on a minimal budget and Nashville is the perfect city to do so. The clichéd saying is true – the best things in life are free. And they often involve a ton of random people, Darrin, the inventor of the Skedaddle Hopper.


ABC Health & Wellbeing

Video: Hitting the books hurts your eyesight
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by ABC Health and Wellbeing

No-one wants to damage their eyesight. So what eye myths do you need to take heed of, and which can you ignore.

[Image source: iStockPhoto]

Verdict: Yes, in rare cases it can damage your vision.

For most people, an occasional gentle rub is nothing to worry about, says Professor Charles McMonnies, from the School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of NSW.

But if you rub your eyes too hard, too often or over a long period of time, you could get into trouble, says McMonnies, a research optometrist with a special interest in eye rubbing. He says studies show that rubbing causes our eye pressure to spike.

Even a light rub doubles it, he says. Removing eye make-up or wiping away tears increases the pressure a little more. But scrunching up your eyes then using your knuckles to gouge really hard shoots up your eye pressure more than 20 times.

For most of us, our eye pressure returns to normal when we stop rubbing and the temporary blip does no obvious long-term damage. But for those with certain eye conditions, an increase in eye pressure caused by hard, frequent or prolonged rubbing could be more serious.

Hard eye rubbing can also damage the front of the eye. The combination of increased eye pressure and the mechanical damage caused by rubbing can harm the cornea, and in rare cases tear it.

More commonly, it's weakened and pushes forward to become more conical, the pointy end of a rugby ball, a condition known as keratoconus.

Again, the damage could be enough to cause significant loss of sight.

Read more: Can you damage your eyes if you rub them?

Does reading in dim light damage your eyes?

Verdict: Not ly, but reading too much in general can affect your sight.

We've all been there – so engrossed in a good book you don't want to stop reading, despite poor light.

But this is unly to permanently damage your eyes, says Brisbane optometry professor Nathan Efron. It's true you'll probably find it more comfortable to read in good light, but there's no evidence low light causes any permanent harm.

The most ly outcome is temporary “eye strain” – a discomfort we attribute to our eyes, but which has no known physiological cause, Efron says.

“People will say they've got tired eyes, burning eyes, strained eyes. But the problem might not actually be in the eyes. It might be caused by the muscles around the eye, the brow and so on. We don't really know.”

But any eye strain should disappear within a day or so (at most).

Read more: Does reading in dim light damage your eyesight?

Do your sunnies need to have an SPF?

Verdict: Yes, it's important to have sunglasses that protect your eyes from damaging ultraviolet radition.

your skin, your eyes are susceptible to both short term and long term effects of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, says Cancer Council Australia's Skin Cancer Committee chair Louise Baldwin.

“The most common short-term impact of UV exposure to the eye is acute photo keratopathy, which is sunburn of the cornea and can cause inflammation,” she explains.

“Long-term exposure to UV radiation can result in more serious damage to the eyes, including squamous cell cancers on the surface of the eye and skin cancer around the eyes. It can also cause cataracts, damage to the retina and climatic droplet keratopathy (cloudiness of the cornea).”

When it comes to choosing sunnies that are going to best protect your eyes, what matters is the UV radiation-absorbing properties of the plastic material used in the lenses of a pair of sunglass.

“Of the five categories of lenses (0-4) it's best to pick a pair with a rating of 2 or above to guarantee sufficient UV protection,” she says.

Read more: Not just eye candy: which sunglasses protect your eyes?

Do kids need to wear sunglasses?

Verdict: Yes, children also need to protect their eyes from sun damage.

We're told we should always make sure our kids are wearing a shirt, hat and sunscreen before they go outside. But do they really need to slide on shades as well?

Dr Michael Jones, paediatric eye specialist at the Children's Hospital at Westmead and the Sydney Eye Hospital, says kids definitely need to wear sunglasses while they are outside.

In fact, wearing sunglasses as a youngster can help protect against the most common eye conditions that develop later in life.

We tend to forget that a lot of our sun exposure happens when we are children, when we spend a lot of time outdoors in direct sunlight, Jones says.

UV light from the sun is a form of radiation and it can damage cells in the eye.

While there's no evidence that children's eyes are more susceptible to UV light than adults', the longer eyes are exposed to these harmful rays without protection, the more damage they accumulate.

Read more: Do kids need to wear sunglasses?

Can looking at a computer screen affect your eyesight?

Verdict: Yes, looking at a computer screen a lot may increase your risk of short-sightedness.

Brisbane optometry professor Nathan Efron does not consider computer screens “harmful” to our eyes.

But he admits if you use one a lot, you increase your risk of becoming slightly more short-sighted – where your eyes focus well only on close objects while more distant objects appear blurred. This is especially the case for children and young adults, whose eyes are still developing.

Before you switch off the computer, it's worth noting that doing any close-up work – including reading – will have the same effect on your eyes.

Exactly why the risk increases isn't well understood and two theories have been proposed.

First, when we read up close, objects in the peripheral visual field are not perfectly focused, and the eye tries to grow slightly larger to correct this, making you a little more short-sighted.

Second, it's thought the constant contraction of eye muscles when we focus up close somehow makes the eyeball more elongated, which again tends to make you more short-sighted.

Read more: Can looking at a computer screen damage your eyes?

Do glasses weaken your eyes?

Verdict: No, your glasses won't weaken your eyes.

If you think your eyesight's become worse since you've started wearing glasses, you're far from alone.

Struggling to focus on printed matter is an unfortunate sign of ageing. Changes to the lens of the eye as you get older mean you have to move the page further and further away before you can see properly. It's called presbyopia and it strikes us all, usually by our mid 40s.

And the truth is many eye conditions, including presbyopia, get worse over time by themselves, specs or no specs.

In other words, it seems harder to read things without your glasses because it is. But it was going to happen anyway, and your glasses aren't to blame.

What your specs have done is got you used to seeing more clearly. So when you take them off, the contrasting blurriness is more noticeable.

Read more: Do glasses weaken your eyes?

Published 23/10/2014


Red flags: Signs that your child may have a vision problem

Video: Hitting the books hurts your eyesight

Kids often have no idea that they have a vision problem, so you'll want to be vigilant about noticing signs of potential trouble. Contact your child's doctor if your child:

  • Needs to have books very close when reading.
  • Squints or blinks often.
  • Tilts his head to see better (while looking at a picture or the television, for example).
  • Rubs her eyes when she's not sleepy.
  • Closes one eye to see better (while looking at a book or watching television, for example).
  • Avoids close, near-vision activities scribbling, coloring, playing board games, or doing schoolwork.
  • Avoids distance-vision activities, watching birds or planes or playing catch, or has trouble seeing small objects at a distance or reading the blackboard in school.
  • Has trouble following an object with his eyes (visual tracking).
  • Has recurrent headaches at the end of the day.
  • Complains of tired eyes.
  • Seems overly sensitive to light.
  • Looks cross-eyed, her eyes turn out, or her eyes don't seem to work in unison.
  • His eyes flutter quickly from side to side or up and downn.
  • Has redness in her eyes that doesn't go away after a few days and is sometimes accompanied by pain or sensitivity to light.
  • Complains of double vision.
  • Seems especially clumsy.
  • Has a persistent, unusual spot in his eyes in photos taken with a flash (a white spot, for example, instead of the common red eyes).
  • Has a droopy eyelid that never fully opens.
  • Has white, grayish-white, or yellowish material in the pupil of her eyes. (Her eyes look cloudy.)
  • Has bulging eyes.
  • Has any change in the appearance of his eyes.
  • Has difficulty seeing at night or in low light.
  • Has one eye that appears larger than the other, or pupils of different sizes.
  • Is not able to distinguish certain colors (red from green, for example).
  • Has difficulty seeing objects that are potential hazards, such as steps, curbs, and walls.

You'll also want to have your child's doctor check your child's eyes if they show any signs of a blocked tear duct, injury, or infection, such as pinkeye. These signs include excessive tearing, redness, pain, sensitivity to light, or pus or crust in her eyes.

Tell the doctor, too, if your child complains of itching or discomfort, as these may be signs of an allergy.

Your child's doctor can help you determine whether you should be concerned. The doctor may examine your child's eyes, screen his vision, or refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist). If vision problems run in your child's family, be sure to mention it.

See our complete article on strabismus (misaligned eyes) and amblyopia (lazy eye).

Before the next well-child checkup, check out our complete article on what to expect when the doctor examines your child's eyes.


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Video: Hitting the books hurts your eyesight

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Gua Sha Facial Massage, Technique, and Tools – Gua Sha DIY At-Home Facial

Video: Hitting the books hurts your eyesight

If you’ve visited, well, any clean beauty brand’s website in the last year, you’ve undoubtedly spotted it: the Gua Sha tool.

Sleek, smooth, and often created from vanity-worthy gemstones, the lymph-flushing skin care darling has an impressive past.

To learn all about the trending tool and massage technique, we asked celebrity facialists Georgia Louise Vassanelli and Angela Caglia—plus, Alder New York’s co-founder, Nina Zilka—for a history lesson.

What Does Gua Sha Mean?

“The term Gua Sha itself is defined in two parts: ‘gua’ for scraping; ‘sha’ for redness of skin,” explains Caglia. “It may also be called skin scraping, spooning, or coining,” adds Vassanelli.

Gua Sha's Ancient History

Though you may just now be ordering your own gua sha, the tools—and process—certainly aren’t new.

“Historical records on the first use of Gua Sha date back to the Paleothic Age, otherwise commonly referred to as the Stone Age, when primitive stone implements were first used by hunter-gatherers,” says Caglia.

“But evidence also suggests stone implements were used to rub parts of the body to alleviate pain symptoms.”

Gua Sha began to take its modern shape by way of traditional Chinese medicine, “with major medical records documenting its extensive use dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644),” adds Caglia. “Gua Sha has been traditionally used by medical practitioners to treat issues related to chronic pain caused by inflammation, with the literal goal to ‘scrape away illness’,” she says.

“According to traditional Chinese medicine, qi or chi is energy that flows through the body. Many people believe that a person’s qi must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure their health and wellbeing,” explains Vassanelli.

Practitioners believe that stagnant qi is a possible root of inflammation—a.k.a. “the underlying cause of several conditions associated with chronic pain,” she says.

“Rubbing the skin’s surface is thought to help break up this energy, reduce inflammation, and promote healing.”

The Original Gua Sha Tools

These days, beauty and wellness brands place special importance on the stones—often jade or rose quartz—that Gua Sha tools are crafted from. However, this wasn’t always the case, according to Vassanelli.

“Gua Sha, which was used for generations by Chinese mothers as a home remedy for sick children, could have been made from any house-hold tool such as a coin or a tin lid with a sharp edge to scrape the skin,” she says.

That said, stone Gua Sha tools are historically accurate as well; Caglia notes that Stone Age Gua Sha were “usually made of stone,” and those developed later by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners did use jade.

Caglia points to President Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 as a modern point of introduction.

“Broader interest in the U.S. has only increased steadily ever since, with the most-recognized form of [traditional Chinese medicine] in the U.S. being acupuncture, a now widely practiced and recognized form of medicine that is heavily regulated at the state level,” she says.

Vassanelli also draws a comparison between Gua Sha and acupuncture. “With the rise of self-care and popularities of functional medicine and Chinese acupuncture, this became a tool that everyone at home could do that doesn’t require a medical degree,” she notes. “I created my Georgia Louise Lift + Sculpt Butterfly Stone over 15 years ago.”

Why Use Gua Sha On Your Face?

For many skin care fans, their first glimpse at the tool is through a website or video tutorial. So, how did Gua Sha go from full-body scraping to facial companion? Vassanelli credits its ability to break down muscular tension, as well as move qi.

“At first, it’s a little painful,” she says. “But the more you practice, the less painful it gets because the inflammation is reduced, easing away discomfort, tension, and puffiness. I think we can all relate to a tool that doesn’t require batteries and can be done at home.

Plus, it feels good.”

And yes, this is where the oh-so-buzzy lymphatic system comes in—the body’s impressively complex, waste-drainage system.

“Un our cardiovascular system, which uses our heart to pump blood through it, our lymphatic system circulates lymph fluid by our muscles moving and contracting,” Zilka explains.

“Gua Sha is particularly helpful for lymphatic drainage in our face because we don't move the muscles in our face all that much. The intentional movements of a facial massage will help move the lymph through the system and result in a more toned and sculpted appearance.”

The Right Technique

Now’s not the time to go rogue. “I recommend users closely follow the directions of the tool they have, and to not make up their own technique. I have seen many beauty bloggers doing it wrong in their instructional videos,” says Caglia. “It is important to go in an upward, outward direction only and press lightly by gliding over a facial oil.”

Need a little more guidance? “Using a proper Gua Sha tool, such as my Georgia Louise Lift + Sculpt Butterfly Stone, work with soft pressure (versus scraping) and glide over the face contours, working inwards and outwards to create a flushing of the skin and avoid bruising,” recommends Vassanelli.

Does Gua Sha Leave Bruises?

Short answer: occasionally. Long answer: “It can sometimes leave bruises because you are pressing hard, pushing and scraping the skin,” explains Vassanelli (and notes that bruises can be “a good sign that the treatment is working.”)

It could have something to do with just how simple it is. In the words of Caglia: “We use so much technology, it’s nice to have a break and use an effective, soothing tool that doesn't need to be charged.”

And hey, those sculpted results are pretty nice, too. “Facial Gua Sha is easy to do yourself, and there are such visible results so quickly,” says Zilka. “Everyone is interested in looking more toned and glowy, and there’s been more interest in natural, less invasive ways to do this than traditional botox and fillers.” So, go ahead and get to scraping.