General Eye Care THE IMPORTANCE OF EYE CARE Our eyes are the window to our soul. Keeping our eyes healthy and safe is very important. Eye care is simple : common sense and some safety measures is all it really takes. Read and follow these tips in order to keep your eyes healthy and in good condition. EYE CHECK When to visit an ophthalmologist Blurring of vision for distance or near Redness, pain or watering in eye All children before starting school (3- 4 years) Squint or cross eye at any age Eye injury Blurring of vision at near which commonly starts at age 40 Family history of glaucoma Diabetes at the time of diagnosis and four or six monthly review as advised by an Ophthalmologist It is very important that everyone visit the eye doctor each year. Even if your vision is perfect, there could still be problems with the health of your eyes. An eye doctor will be able to check everything out and if something is wrong, start treatment. The sooner you know about a problem with your eyes the better chance you have of correcting it. The key to good vision and health is prevention. LEARNING DISABILITY IN CHILDREN Children who have trouble seeing or interpreting what they see often have trouble with their schoolwork. Many times, children do not complain of vision problems simply because they do not know what “normal” vision looks like. If your child exhibits a reading or learning disability, be sure to have his eyes examined to rule out an underlying visual cause. A routine eye checkup is recommended for all children before they start school i.e. before 5 years of age. WEAR SAFETY GLASSES Wear safety glasses, even if you wear prescription glasses, at all times when you are working around the house doing tasks such as hammering, sawing, sanding, cutting, etc. Wear specially-designed goggles when you have high-risk occupations such as welding, braising, etc. Wear safety glasses even when you are working with cement, mortar, paint, etc., to help keep splashes of chemicals out of your eyes. WEAR SUN GLASSES Protect your eyes from ultraviolet light exposure by wearing a pair of sunglasses. Some contact lenses and most regular eyeglasses also have this protection. Also, wearing a hat with a brim will greatly reduce the amount of UV radiation slipping around the side of your sunglasses. Did you know that you need sunglasses on cloudy days as well? Clouds might provide shade, but they are no barrier for UV light. Clouds are basically water, and water is UV-transparent. There is some evidence that UV light can lead to cataracts. EXERCISE REGULARLY Set a goal of moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes five days a week. Studies tell us individuals who exercise regularly can reduce their risk of macular degeneration by up to 70%. When you read or work on the computer make sure that the light is right It is a common knowledge that working with poor light can cause eyestrain, but light that is too bright can do as much damage. Almost everybody feels discomfort in their eyes after peering at a computer screen all day long. This is because people blink about 25% less often then usual, while working at the computer, which causes eye dryness. Vitamins A, C and E, folic acid, selenium and zinc are definitely beneficial for the health of your eyes. So a healthy diet won’t restore eyesight that is already lost, but it can definitely slow down the process of the disease, or prevent one from starting. EAT RIGHT! Most foods don’t affect your eyesight at all, although the right vitamins and minerals are helpful. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. Your body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals so it can keep your eyes and vision healthy and fine. There are also many supplements on the market today which claim to have beneficial medical effects on the eyes. SAY NO TO SMOKING Smoking has a negative effect on eye health, which limits the blood flow to the eyes and increases oxidative stress and can worsen eye diseases such as macular degeneration and dry eye, a common eye disease associated with aging that gradually destroys sharp, central vision. This risk is higher for women who smoke. COMPUTER VISION SYNDROME (CVS) Adults and children who are associated with frequent computer use can be affected with vision problems. Changes in your vision can occur without you noticing, and the earlier these changes are detected the better your treatment options. Tips for comfortable computing The 20-20 Rule Follow the 20-20 rule. After every 20 minutes of work, look 20ft awayf from the computer and blink 20 times. Eye Movements Close your eyes, roll your eyeballs both clockwise and anticlockwise after every 3 hours while using the computer. Maintain Distance Maintain a distance of 22 – 28 inches from the computer screen. Maintain level The center of your computer screen should be 4 – 5 inches below your eye level. Right Posture Keep your wrists straight and not supported on some sharp edges and should not rest on the keyboard while typing. Room Lighting Arrange the lighting in the room such that the glare and reflection in the screen are reduced to a minimum. Anti-glare screen Attach an anti-glare screen in front of your monitor. Rest Breaks Rest your eyes for fifteen minutes after two hours of computer use. Treating CVS What is the medical option for treating symptoms of CVS? Use of lubricant eye drops Lubricant eye drops are meant to provide mositurising relief to the eyes Lubricant eye drops help in soothing the eyes and relieving irritation, redness and eye strain. Your eye doctor can recommend the right eye drops for you. How often can you use lubricant eye drops? Lubricant eye drops can be used whenever you experience irritation, burning and redness in the eyes. You can instill 1-2 drops of lubricant eye drops in a day as often as needed. Are lubricant eye drops safe to use? Yes. They are extremely safe to use and carry no side effects. Can you use lubricant eye drops with other medications? Yes. Lubricant eye drops can be safely used with other medications. What are the general precautions to be followed while using the drops? To avoid contamination, do not touch the tip of the bottle to any surface. Replace cap after using. If using multiple eye drops, wait for five minutes between the eye drops.