Intensive Eye Care Habits
Why do you need to read this?
Increasingly large number of people nowadays suffer from vision problems thanks to the modern lifestyle full of electronic devices. When you go on a subway or a public bus, you will probably see at least 8 out of 10 people having their heads down on their smart phones and tablets. While these devices should be means of improving people's lives, we should not be overusing them to the point that they backfire on our health. This Hub will table out several simple measures that you can take in order to protect your eye health from deteriorating, or, at least, delay deterioration.
What disorders can bother you?
Macular Degeneration: A condition of damage at the centre of one's vision field. It can develop in either DRY or WET form. Dry Macular Disease is caused by the deterioration of macular, a section at the back wall of your eye (ref. to cross section pic on right hand side). The more severe Wet macular degeneration is caused by the growth of an abnormal blood vessel from under the retina, which can possibly lead to leakage of blood from the vessel, leading to more rapid vision lost than Dry Macular degeneration, if left untreated. Macular Degeneration, overall, are more likely to happen to patients older than 50 years of age, but it can also happen to younger people with more severe vision problems such as high-power myopia (short-sightedness). Symptoms of macular degeneration includes blurry vision (eg. unable to recognize faces in a reasonably close distance), straight lines appear to be distorted and so on. Treatment options for both wet and dry macular degeneration include laser treatment, drugs, or both.
Glaucoma: Refers to damage of the optic nerve due to high ocular pressure (pressure inside the eye in lament terms). Such damage is normally irreversible. One of the reasons why glaucoma is the leading cause of permanent blindness is that it has no early symptoms; it can only be detected via regular check-ups (very much like cancer). In fact, the development of glaucoma can actually be completely halted via the long term use of eye-drops, if detected early. Patients with advanced glaucoma have very limited or no treatment option for surgery can be too risky and eye-drops have no substantial effects other than slowing down blindness.
Retinal Detachment: The detachment of retina from the tissue below it (see cross section). Patients with high-power myopia are at a higher risk for retinal detachment. Among the most common initial symptoms of it are floaters and sudden flashing lights at the corner of an eye. High level of stress and not having enough rest for the eyes can also lead to the tear of the retina, subsequently leading to detachment. Detached retina can be reattached via surgery and it is normally of high success rate, but certain level of vision loss can happen depending on how early or how late your detachment is diagnosed and treated. Again, time always matter.
The above three disorders are the are only a small part of the very long list, but these are among the most common and most dangerous disorders which must be diagnosed early before they cause any permanent, irreversible damage.
Some facts to get you warmed up before reading
-Myopia, better known as short-sightedness or near-sightedness, is among the most common refractive errors in the world. Research discovered that children ageing between 5-15 years old are the high risk group of suffering from Myopia.
-Prolonged exposure to digital screens in dark surroundings, or prolonged exposure to sunlight are among the leading risk factors of Glaucoma.
-Diabetes can lead to blur vision due to swollen lenses in our eyes. Diabetic-led eye disorders has recently become one of the major factors that trigger blindness among adults ageing between 20-75 years old.
The 3 Universal Rules to Protect Your Eyes
So i have mentioned that digital devices can backfire on our health, but wait, don't get me wrong, don't throw your iPhone away as yet! Practice the simple rules below, and you will still be able to work and live with your devices happily without having to worry about deterioration of eye health.
How often do you visit an ophthalmologist?
RULE #1: PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.
We all demand good health, but humans aren't born perfect. Just like machines can sometimes suffer from glitches, humans suffer from disorders. A Chinese saying states that "The eyes are the windows of our soul", it stresses the importance of our vision and the fact that losing our vision will mean imprisoning our soul in a "windowless" body. Routine check-ups with your ophthalmologist is vital to detect any disorder and treat them accordingly before they turn chronic or do any permanent damage to your eyes. Always keep in mind that it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.
Tips for routine check-ups: It is recommended that you go back to the same ophthalmologist or at least go back to the same clinic for your vision check-ups, as they have probably been keeping a record of your conditions from your previous visit(s) and therefore may know more about the risk factors that you are exposed to, which they will continue to monitor every time you visit.
It is also advised that you visit your ophthalmologists once a year should you not have any history of vision disorders; otherwise make at least two visits a year.
RULE #2: Get yourself lots of antioxidants, not meds.
If you are a coffee addict, that's superb! Coffee is a good source of antioxidant. Many other anti-oxidant food rich in carotenoids such as egg yolks, fishes, and corns (not popcorn!) can be easily obtained from supermarkets , so get the most benefits out of them. The price of not taking antioxidants would be taking tablets and using eyedrops for the long term, or even undergoing surgeries. That is going to cost you dearly!
Tips about the intake of antioxidants: People always tend to meddle up "preventing" and "curing" diseases. Please understand that the intake of antioxidant food or supplements can only prevent vision disorders; while having a little-to-none effect in curing them. Start the intake of antioxidants before disorders happen to you, not when it is happening and progressing.
RULE #3: Periodical relax and sufficient sleep.
Getting enough rest is crucial for your eyes. Tired eyes can become swollen and dried. Regardless of how busy you are, you MUST rest your eyes for at least 6 hours a day; even if you struggle to fall asleep, just keeping your eyes shut for 6 hours would be enough. Should your eyes feel dried or uncomfortable in the middle of the day, try to take a 20-minute power nap if conditions allow (you don't blame me when your boss accuses you of being lazy at work).
Making sure that you are taking some time off your working desk periodically would also give your eyes some much needed rest. Doctors suggest that for every hour you spent on your working desk, you should take about 3 minutes off from work and look out of the window to relax the muscles of your eyes. Strained muscles in the eyes can lead to dehydration as well as lacking oxygen. Muscles in the eyes are just like any other muscle in our body, if you work out too hard, they may be torn; the difference is, if the muscles in the eyes are torn, you are probably in some deep troubles!
What about getting a sunglasses?
Yes, sunglasses can make you look better, but more importantly, they do have protective functions which not only can shield your eyes from harmful rays but also allow you see better under the sun.
How to purchase a sunglasses?
Do not simply go into a toy store for your sunglasses, first it won't last long; second it really is just a cosmetic product for it won't shield your eyes other than reducing the intensity of the sunlight.
Instead, go into a proper optical shop and ask for "Polarized sunglasses". What does polarized means? Polarized lenses can eliminate the glare of the sun hence wearing them can provide a much clearer vision without disturbance from the sun's rays.
Okay the promoter would probably bring you some high-end brands like Ray Ban and Lee Copper, but you really do not need to waste that money for you can get a pair of sunglasses as good as these brands at a much lower price: IDEAL is the brand that many doctors would suggest. Not only it provide sufficient protection, its price is also significantly lower than many other brands. Furthermore, IDEAL is one of the very few brands that make sunglasses for people who wear power glasses as well!
And finally, take some blinking breaks
Blinking your eyes is a good way to keep your eyes squeaky clean and sufficiently lubricated with tears. When blinking your eyes, your eye lids are like wipers and your cornea like a windscreen. The eye lids tend to clear your cornea from dust particles every time you blink; this will help to keep your vision clear (just like how wipers wipe off raindrops on your windscreen to give you a clearer view on the road). Lubrication wise, our tear glands excrete a small amount of tears every time we blink our eyes, this will hep to moisture our cornea. Having enough moisture for our eyes will prevent irritation, dry eyes and chronic fatigue. Of course, be sure to drink enough water because our eyes can't make tears without water!! Cultivate the habit of blinking your eyes for 20 seconds for every 20 minutes you spent staring at your laptop. Your eyes will thank you by bothering you less or not bother you at all with any disorders!
© 2014 Thomas Chan