Vision for the future
Proper eye care can save you from loss of vision later in life
THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF SIGHT Protecting your eyes is in your own hands
We tend to think of eye injuries just around Deepavali when firecrackers are set off, but they can happen any time. Just as you wear a helmet or a seat belt to protect yourself while driving, you should take steps to protect your eyes. Here are a few insights into eye care.
Are you having trouble seeing? Do you get headaches frequently? You may require reading or seeing spectacles. Today, glasses and contact lenses have become as matter-of-fact as toothbrushes, but not so proper eye care.
If you wear contact lenses, never leave them on your eyes for over eight hours at a stretch. Alternate them with glasses. Clean your lenses thoroughly after every use and disinfect them with the prescribed enzyme tablets periodically. Says ophthalmologist A. G. Ramesh: "Never doze off on a bus ride with your contact lenses on, as this can lead to corneal injury. Your cornea needs oxygen, and when you close your eyes, there's less oxygen, resulting in corneal injury."
Laser surgery can be done only after the age of 18 and if the individual has not had an increase in power for the last 12 months.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Does your work involve staring at the computer for hours together? Unless you take precautions, you might fall prey to computer vision syndrome (dryness of the eye). "This is caused by the eye-blink rate falling to five times a minute from the normal blink-rate of 11 to 15 times a minute. Blinking produces tears, and those with low blink rates produce less tears and, consequently, less lubrication, resulting in dryness in the eye," says ophthalmologist Mohan Rajan.
"What you can do is voluntarily increase this blink rate. In severe cases, artificial tear supplements may be used," says Dr. Rajan. He suggests that the computer monitor be placed at a level slightly lower than the eye level. "The eye will automatically tend to close then, which will boost the blink rate."
He also advocates the twenty-twenty-twenty rule for circumventing the computer eye syndrome. What this involves is taking the eyes off the computer screen and looking at a object located at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of staring at the computer. "The eye relaxes then. ," says Dr. Rajan. He also recommends anti-reflective screens. The lighting in the area should be such that it should not produce glare.
While watching television, sit eight feet away from it. For reading at night, you need the illumination created by a 40 to 60 watt bulb. It also makes sense to wear protective eye gear while playing rough sports, in the lab or workshop where injuries can occur.
If any foreign object like sand or dust enters your eye, don't rub it. Wash your eye for several minutes with lukewarm water. Do you feel that there is something in your eye, when there's really nothing? Has your eye reddened or is it producing a lot of tears and overly sensitive to light? "It could be a case of scratched cornea. It may have resulted from wearing contact lenses, or by injury. Then, stop wearing contact lenses, and get your eyes examined," says Dr. Ramesh.
If your lifestyle involves exposure to bright sunlight, opt for sunglasses with UV filters. Research indicates that people in the tropics where the sun shines best, tend to develop cataract a good 10 years earlier than people elsewhere. Avoid smoking too, as it can put you at risk for developing macular degeneration.
If you have a family history of eye problems such as glaucoma or cataract, or if you have diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, get your eyes checked at least every year, as these conditions put you at an increased risk of developing blinding eye diseases.
Finally, to preserve this wonderful gift of sight, eat lots of vitamin A found abundantly in carrot, fish, milk, egg and green leafy vegetables such as cabbage a person needs 10,000 international units of vitamin A every day.
Never wear your contact lenses for over eight hours at a stretch.
Alternate them with glasses to give your eyes rest.
Clean your lenses thoroughly after every use.
Never doze off on a bus with your contact lenses on.
While watching TV, sit at least eight feet away.
Blink frequently while working on the computer.
Look at a distant object for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of staring at the computer.
If a foreign object enters your eye, wash it but don't rub it
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