By: Dr. Satyaprasad Balki – MS FCAS, Sr.Cataract, Cornea, Refractive Surgeon – MaxiVision Eye Hospital, Hyderabad
Our eyes are one of the most overworked organs in our body, from the time we wake up till we sleep, our eyes are constantly roving around and relaying important information to our brain, without any delay. In this context, it’s only fair that we take some time out to give our eyes the adequate care they deserve.
1. REGULAR EYE CHECK-UP-
Firstly, everyone, no matter which age group you fall in, should get at least one eye checkup a year by a qualified ophthalmologist, which should include refraction-to check for refractive errors if any. Tonometry- to check the pressure in the eyes. A thorough eye examination under the slit lamp and fundoscopy to check the retina. Following this assessment, your eye doctor will prescribe the appropriate treatment and further visits if required.
Currently, our country is the diabetic capital of the world thanks to our carbohydrate rich diet and lack of exercise. Diabetes and hypertension are two lifestyle diseases which can wreak havoc on your eyes leading to permanent loss of vision, if not kept in check.
Be aware and cautious of your blood sugar levels, your blood pressure and consult your endocrinologist regularly for any change in medication which is required. Patients with these conditions have a propensity to develop early cataract (clouding of your natural lens), changes in the retina, which are usually permanent and irreversible, glaucoma,etc. preferably get your eye checkup once in six months if you have these conditions.
3. AVOID SMOKING-
Kick the butt! The best remedy for a number of diseases occurring in our body. Tobacco in any and all forms is the culprit for numerous eye conditions including optic nerve damage, cancers and glaucoma.so if you are a smoker, NOW is a good time to stop, if you are not, then these reasons are enough to keep you at bay.
4. SCREEN TIME-
Our eyes were never meant to stare for long hours and bright unnatural light which is exactly what emanates from your mobiles, tablets, and laptops. This leads to a constant strain and reduced blink rate of the eyes causing headaches, irritation, and transient blurring of vision. Take frequent breaks from your screen, follow the 20-20-20 rule-after 20mins of screen time, for 20 seconds look 20 feet away, or simply close your eyes for 20 seconds. Use appropriate lubricant drops prescribed by your ophthalmologist, alternately you can use glasses with a blue filter which reduces the strain caused by screens, never use a mobile or laptop in a dark room especially before sleeping, and ensure ambient room lighting.
5. PAEDIATRIC AGE GROUP-
Children fall into a special category for ophthalmologists due to their inability to express visual symptoms, it becomes a responsibility of parents and teachers to keenly observe if a child is straining or wincing while looking at the board, incorrectly taking notes, lagging behind the rest of the class, indicating a refractive error. A simple checkup by your ophthalmologist and prescription of appropriate glasses will make a world of difference for the child, helping them perform well and giving them confidence. Always remember if your child’s refractive errors are not corrected in time, it might lead to a condition called amblyopia wherein defective vision persists despite the best correction. I encourage schools to conduct frequent eye camps to diagnose such conditions at the earliest.
6. CLEAN BODY, CLEAN MIND-
This may sound like a monologue, but the need for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle is often preached, seldom practiced. Ours is an energy-intense diet, which needs an equal amount of physical activity to burn it. simple changes in lifestyle like a balanced diet (keep an eye on your macronutrients –fats, carbs, and proteins and micronutrients-vitamins, minerals.)Will go a long way to keep you fit. For eye health, remember the rule of ACE- vitamins A, C & E, and antioxidants like lutein, and zeaxanthin. While you can load up on these vitamins with a diet that includes adequate greens, whole eggs, carrots, citrus fruits, gooseberries, papaya, etc. lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found naturally in the retina of your eyes, which can be derived from grapes, spinach, kiwis, zucchini or in the form of supplements prescribed by your ophthalmologist.
Remember the gift of vision is precious, learn to love and take care of it!