Sight, to behold

Your eyes are your windows to the world. Keep them in good working condition


Several internal and external factors affect how well we can see. These include: the size of the object the light conditions [external factors] and age, the health of our lens and pupils [internal factors].

As we age, our lens begin to harden and presbyopia sets in by 40 years of age. Presbyopia is the inability of the lens to focus on an object, which makes viewing objects at close range difficult.

With age, the opacity of the lens increases, the pupils reduce in size and colour vision gets altered—blue colours may appear faded or washed out, and there may be glare disability. Thus, older individuals require stronger light to see objects with the same clarity as younger persons. Not following good everyday eye care habits worsens matters.

To preserve good vision as you age, inculcate these good habits.

  • When reading, hold the book 40 – 50cm away from you at an angle of 40 – 70 degrees. Do not read at a close distance.
  • Do not slouch or crane your neck. Sit with your back straight, keeping your neck and shoulder muscles relaxed. Adjust your table and chair for a better posture.
  • Ensure that the lighting is bright enough to read without straining your eyes, yet not too bright to cause glare. Adjust your reading lamp close with the light coming from the side. Avoid working under a shadow.
  • Blink more often and do it consciously—eyes tend to dry when we use them for prolonged periods. Blinking wets the eyes and soothes them.
  • Take regular breaks to relax your eyes when working with a computer.
  • Use a document holder to refer to documents while typing. Adjust it at the same level and distance as the screen of your computer.
  • Do not read in a moving vehicle or in a dim flickering light. Although reading in this way does not cause permanent damage, it leads to headaches and causes eye strain.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.
  • Stop smoking.
  • After 40 years age, get your eyes checked every two years.
  • If you are prescribed corrective glasses/contact lenses, wear them on a regular basis and ensure that they are updated as per the condition of your eyes.
  • If you have glare disability, wear photo chromic glasses or those with anti-reflective coating.

Let there be [proper] light

With people spending more and more time staring at computer screens, ergonomic lighting in office has become even more important. Here are some guidelines for lighting at work:

  • The maximum amount of light should fall on the place where you do reading work like your desktop. The rest of the workplace should have less light.
  • It is important that you do not experience glare.
  • The lighting arrangement in an office should be as per the type of work done there. Task lighting with LED/fluorescent light sources that are flicker free work well in any office.

Magnifying lens over an exclamation markSpot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!

Dr Satpal Pannu, MS, is a consultant in Ophthalmology at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai.


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