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L.Srikumar Pai
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Tips to keep your eyes healthy

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By Dr Jyotsna Parihar -Your eyes are an important sensory organ of your body. Keeping them up to date is a part of your healthcare. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure your eyesight is at its best.

Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years:

- After age of 40 years, get your eyes checked by an eye care professional once a year.
- If you have eye symptoms, take professional help as soon as possible, irrespective of your age.
- If your doctor has diagnosed diabetes, glaucoma and any other chronic eye disease, you should get regular assessments even if you do not have symptoms.

Symptoms that you should lookout for include: double or blurred vision, halos around lights, parts of letters or words missing from a printed page, difficulty in judging the depth while using staircase or curbs, faded or distorted print, washed-out or faded colours, inability to see faces clearly, difficulty seeing when going from light to dark, sparks of light appearing off to the side, sudden pain in one or both eyes, or sudden appearance of “floaters” in your line of vision, and headache, especially after long hours of work in front of a computer or reading and writing.

Have a comprehensive eye exam: Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration have no warning signs. When vision is impaired in this condition it is often too late. Eye examination before and after dilating pupils is the only way to detect these diseases at early stages.

Know your family’s eye health history: Diabetes, myopia (nearsightedness), glaucoma and many retinal diseases, night blindness, colour blindness, and so on, can run in family. Therefore, it’s important to know if any other close family member has been diagnosed with these diseases or conditions in the past.

Eat right to protect your sight: Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is good for keeping eyes healthy. Eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and halibut provides the eye with vitamin A, Vitamin E and antioxidants.

Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing diabetes, hypertension and other systemic conditions. Eyes are affected in such systemic diseases resulting in impaired eyesight.

Wear protective eyewear: Wear protective eyewear when playing sports (safety glasses and goggles, safety shields and eye guards for certain activities). Most protective eyewear lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is ten times stronger than other plastic materials.
Be cool and wear your shades: Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100 per cent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Bright sunlight in Middle East countries can cause early cataract, corneal diseases and dry eyes.

Quit smoking or never start: Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract and optic nerve damage, etc. All of them can lead to blindness.

Give your eyes rest: If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

 Use a screen filter to cut down on glare
 Adjust the brightness and contrast of the monitor
 Take frequent breaks
 Blink frequently to keep your eyes well lubricated
 Periodically, look up from the screen and focus on an object in the distance to reduce eye fatigue

Clean your hands and your contact lenses properly: To avoid the risk of infection, always wash your hands thoroughly before inserting or taking out your contact lenses. Make sure to disinfect contact lenses as instructed and replace them as advised by your doctor.

Practise workplace eye safety: As a part of your job requirements, make a habit of wearing the appropriate type of protective eyewear at all times and encourage your co-workers also to do the same.

Television: Keep a distance of 8-10 feet between your eyes and the TV screen. Blink your eyes frequently while watching a programme on TV. Do not turn off the lights in the room. Give your eyes a break every half hour if you are watching TV for long.

( — The writer is an Ophthalmologist (Eye surgeon) at the Dharamsey Eye Centre, Al Ghubra, Oman)




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