Eyes are considered to be the mirrors of your soul and you window to the world. Eye care should be an important part of your daily routine as the eye is an extremely delicate organ and any damage may result in permanent loss of sight.
Protect your eyes
Here are some simple tips to take care of your eyes.
When using computers
- Lower your computer screen so that the centre of the screen is 4 – 8 inches below your eye level and at a viewing distance of 20 – 28 inches.
- Place a document holder next to your computer screen in case your work involves reading / comparing documents along with using computer. Arrange it such that the documents are close enough for you to read without having to swing your head back and forth or constantly change eye focus.
- Blink more often, especially if you begin to feel your eyes getting dry or irritated. It is a good eye exercise.
- Take frequent breaks. Follow the 20-20-20 rule. This simply means every 20 minutes, look away beyond 20 ft and blink 20 times. This will prevent Computer Vision Syndrome [symptoms include: temporary double vision, blurred vision, headache, neck pain eye strain, dry, and irritated eyes].
When playing sports
Make sure to protect your eyes with appropriate safety gear when playing sports like golf, and squash, in which, there are high chances of eye injury.
When using contact lens
- Wash your hands properly before handling your contact lenses
- Do not sleep wearing contact lenses
- Do not wear contact lenses while swimming or bathing
- Do not use saliva to wet your lenses as your mouth contains bacteria
- Do not wear yearly lenses longer than their expiry they can harm eyes.
Eye care for children
Even a simple refractive error can make it difficult for a child to read, affecting his studies. In addition, children often are incapable of understanding what the problem is and hence are unable to communicate it to you.
Generally, your child should undergo a vision screening around age three.
- Check your children’s eyes regularly with an eye doctor. One in four children has a vision problem that can interfere with his or her learning.
- Check if your children squint, rub or excessively blink their eyes.
- Don’t let your children stare directly at the sun, especially during an eclipse.
Your child’s vision is your responsibility.
See the symptoms
Vision problems can present with a variety of symptoms ranging from simple irritation of the eye to decrease/loss of vision. Some common symptoms are:
Itchy, watery eyes
Prolonged itchiness and watering of the eyes are among the more common vision problems. These are due to some type of eye allergies to pollen, pet hair, or some other foreign substance in the environment. The eyes often become red and uncomfortable, though significant vision loss is rare.
Tip: Don’t splash water inside your eyes, as is a habit for some people. This washes away the tear film that is a protective layer and can cause ‘dry eyes’ in the long run.
This is the most common symptom of cataract, wherein the visual image becomes obscured as if seen through a mist. This condition is a result of loss of transparency of the lens with age. Treating cataract is possible in almost all cases via surgery.
Tip: Do not wait for the cataract to mature; visit your eye doctor in the early stage of cataract.
Floaters and flashes
Dark, distinct spots in the vision field caused by the presence of non-transparent substances in the fluid of the eyeball are called floaters.
People who see flashes often describe them as being like an arc of light across the field of vision, or a light bulb going on and off. Floaters and flashes are among the symptoms that arise after retinal detachment, in which the retina peels away from its underlying supports and ceases to function properly. This condition is an emergency and can lead to permanent blindness if not treated immediately.
Loss of peripheral vision
Vision can be divided into two domains—central and peripheral. We use central vision when discerning details of an object’s appearance. It is activated when we focus on something. Our peripheral vision helps us detect motion at the edges of our field of view. Deterioration of the quality of peripheral vision is most commonly associated with glaucoma.
Go for regular check-ups
Adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease should get their eyes checked at the age of 40—the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start showing up.
Presbyopia: It affects most people in their 40s. The vision becomes blurry when looking at things up close.
Macular degeneration: Macular degeneration produces a very distinctive pattern of vision loss and distortion. The image at the very centre of the vision becomes blank, and shapes around it appear twisted. The causes of macular degeneration vary, but it can be treated with medication, surgery, and specific treatments.
Glaucoma: An increase in the eye [intra-ocular] pressure is termed as glaucoma. There are many different types of glaucoma and they can damage vision permanently. Because the signs and symptoms are not noticeable in early stages of the disease, check-ups by a specialist are necessary to prevent long-term consequences.
Ophthalmologists are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to delicate eye surgery.
While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps we can take to keep our eyes healthy and reduce vision problems in the future.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables like carrots, drumstick, spinach, papaya and mangoes. They are rich in beta-carotene, which helps keep eyes healthy.
- Take adequate rest. Rest will refresh the eyes and help them work more efficiently.
- Use a clean cotton ball dipped in milk to clean your eyes. Milk is a good and safe natural cleanser.
- Always use sunglasses during the peak day time to protect your eyes from sunrays if you tend to be out often. Direct sunrays cause heavy damage to eyes. Sunglasses prevent retinal damage; they also protect the delicate eyelid skin from wrinkles and skin cancer around the eye. Don’t presume that the darker the tint of your sunglasses, the more UV protection you have.
- Put sliced cucumber over your eyes to treat dark circles.
With inputs from Dr Ashok Shroff, Medical Retina and Anterior Segment, Dr Anand Shroff, Cataract, LASIK, Glaucoma, Dr Rahul Shroff, Retina and Vitreous and Dr Vishal Shah, Cornea and Anterior Segment from Shroff Eye.
This was first published in the June 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!