Eyesight is one of our most precious assets. It is then but natural that we try to find ways and means of preserving it naturally.
KNOW THE DANGERS FOR YOUR EYESIGHT
The main dangers to eyesight are loss of its acuity, accidents, diseases of the eyeball and infections. To preserve the eyesight, one needs to be aware of these dangers and protect the eyesight from all of them.
The most common problems faced with eyesight are loss of its acuity, MYOPIA, the inability to clearly see the distant objects, and PRESBYOPIA, the age related inability to clearly see the closer objects. Myopia develops early in life, and is often worsened by persistent and severe strain placed on eyes of children by books, computer and Television viewing for long periods. On the contrary, presbyopia is a degenerative phenomenon consisting of a reduced ability to focus on near objects caused by loss of elasticity of the crystalline lens after the age of 45 years.
Accidents are probably one of the most common and unfortunate cause of loss of vision. Eyes are a soft and vulnerable structure, which need protection from flying particles or material, especially in factories, workshops or other such places of work. Among the diseases of the eye, most important is cataract, which is commonly related with age and occurs as a degenerative disease, but could also result from other causes.
Trachoma is the most common infection of eyes that is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis, which spreads by direct contact through fingers or fomites. Other common infections are viral in nature and mostly self limiting though sometimes they can also lead to more serious complications.
PRESERVING EYESIGHT BY FOLLOWING HEALTHY HABITS
To make sure that eyesight remains protected from any disease or damage, it is important to develop proper habits right from an early age.
i) Maintain proper hygiene to prevent infection
Most infections to eye spread by direct contact. So the best way to prevent infections is to develop a habit of not frequently touching or rubbing the eyes. Children should be taught this at an early age, and should also be taught to wash the eyes with clean water only after washing hands with soap in case of eye itching and irritation. Secondly, sharing of towels should be avoided to the extent possible.
ii) Periodic relaxation of eyes – look out for the horizon
Since Mypoia continues to be the first eyesight problem in life as well as the most common one, we need to find ways to prevent it. The best way is to give periodic rest to eyes during straining activity like reading, writing, and working on computer, at regular intervals of 45 to 60 minutes. The best relaxation to eyes can be provided by going out of the room and looking at a distant object like a cloud or a bird in the sky, or fixing your sight at the horizon. One good relaxing exercise for the eyes is kite-flying that makes you look at the distant sky.
Important habits that help in preventing myopia consist of teaching children to maintain a proper distance of 12 inches between the book and the eyes, not to read in a lying down posture and not watching television from less than eight feet distance.
iii) Diet rich in carotene, lutein and antioxidants
For the various degenerative eye diseases, there is no cure available but a good diet rich in antioxidants and regular exercise of eyes helps. Beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, is an essential substance for eyesight, and can be obtained by having a diet rich in carrots, green vegetables, coloured fruits like mango and sweet potato. Another very useful dietary element for eyes is Lutein, which is present in eggs, dark leafy green vegetables, richly colored orange and deep yellow fruits and vegetables. Olive oil and fish are also helpful by providing essential doses of fat. Among foods rich in antioxidants one can try having citrus fruits, blueberries or aronia berry products.
iv) Prevent accidental injury
All care should be taken to avoid accidents by wearing proper optical gear in places where there is a possibility of injury to eyes. It is important to protect the eyes from UV rays too, especially when going on a trek on a snow covered mountain or in sports that may require looking towards the sky in daytime.
v) Prevent radiations from computer
Necessary precautions also need to be taken when working on the computer. Anti glare protection screens must be used for monitors emitting significant radiation. It is also important to give necessary rest to the eyes, by closing them for a minute, looking at the horizon or just lying down for a few minutes with the eyes closed.
vi) Prompt medical opinion
Lastly, in case of any problem of eyesight one needs to promptly seek expert medical opinion and advice. A timely response to a symptom may have significant role to play in timely treatment.