Preventive Eye care


We all have heard this saying many a times earlier, but how many of us actually put it into practice?? We realize its importance only when one of us or our family member encounters a disease which could be prevented by early detection. Most of the eye diseases in their initial phase are silent and have no symptoms. By the time patient comes to us with visual complaints, many diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy etc are irreversible. Many sight threatening diseases, if detected early, can be cured or treated to prevent or slow the progression of vision loss. It is one of the most important things a person can do to preserve his good vision.

 

For early detection of disease we all need to know when to visit the doctor for routine eye examinations.

  • All children between 3 -5 years of age should be screened for refractive errors ie spectacle power and amblyopia-lazy eye. Your child’s pediatrician can also do it. Most of the schools these days have a vision screening programme where children with diminished eye sight are detected and parents are informed to take them to an eye doctor for further evaluation. An early eye examination is recommended if there is a strong family history of spectacle use, child is blinking frequently, squinting his eyes to see, watering or rubbing of eyes or watching objects, especially TV from a close distance. The treatment of lazy eye is possible only till 7 years of age and hence the need of early detection of weak vision or squint.
  • All myopes (shortsighted-wearing minus spectacle power) should get their retina screened by indirect ophthalmoscopy under pupillary dilatation every 2 years to detect any peripheral break /degeneration. This if not detected in time may sometime lead to serious complications like retinal detachment. Mostly retinal breaks have no symptoms and only few cause flashes of light, which require urgent fundus examination.
  •  All diabetics must undergo detailed eye checkup yearly. The chances of having cataract and glaucoma are higher in diabetics then general population. Most important is to detect diabetic retinopathy early, as the changes, which occur, are irreversible. The back portion of our eye called retina where the image is formed develops blood spots, exudates etc which can cause decrease in vision. In advanced stages, there can be bleeding inside eye leading to loss of vision. If detected in time we do retinal laser which stops further progression of disease.
  • All individuals above 40 should undergo intraocular pressure measurement to detect Glaucoma. This is a silent disease and may lead to irreversible visual loss .If detected in time it can be managed well by medicines, laser or surgery. You should definitely get your eye pressure check yearly if
    » There is a family history of glaucoma
    » You have diabetes or thyroid disease
    » You have used steroids in past
  • All individuals above 50 years of age with decrease in vision should also be examined for Cataract & ARMD-age related macular degeneration. Though by and large these diseases are age related, ultraviolet light and nutrition have a role to play too.
As important as eyesight is to quality of life, it is never too late to take steps to protect this gift. There are some important things we can do now to reduce the risk of blindness later in life.
 

 

Protect your eyes from Ultra-Violet rays of the sun. Wear sunglasses with a 90 to100 percent UVA and UVB blocking rate whenever you are outside. Grey, green or brown are more effective. And at a construction site, never look at a welding arc!

Increase your consumption of antioxidants through foods and supplements. Those are the most important and effective.

Free radicals and antioxidants - What am I talking about? Taking in various antioxidants can help our bodies deal with the free radical load more easily, thus reducing the amount of cellular damage. First of all, increasing the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables is very important.

Yellow fruits and green vegetables is the mantra to be followed for eyes. The recommendation is 5-8 servings daily. Antioxidants found in their natural state are best. Antioxidants as found in fruits and vegetables are more complete than those that are singled out in any given supplement medicine. They supplement the balanced diet, they don't replace it. The most important vitamins to consider when dealing with the eyes are:

vitamins C & E, beta-carotene, and the mineral selenium. So, what does this boil down to as far as a daily regimen?

-Wear those sunglasses whenever you are outdoors.

-Eat 5 to 8 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday.

-Supplement of Vitamin C, E, Selenium, Beta-carotene can also be taken (Best is to get these vitamin from vegetable source such as carrots, green vegetables, papaya, mango, grapes etc)

 

 

Eye Care for computer users:
Computer monitors are associated with eye strain. Long hours on computers can put stress on the eyes causing headaches, blurred vision and eye fatigue.

The following steps can be taken to reduce eyestrain from computer use:

  • Make sure the computer screen is at least 18 to 26 inches away from your eyes.
  • Arrange the monitor so that the top line of on-screen text is at eye level. Placing a monitor too high exposes more of the eye, causing it to dry out.
  • Arrange lighting to minimize glare and reflections.
  • Take frequent vision breaks to rest your eyes, close your eyes for few seconds every 10-15 minutes.
  • Remember to blink often to keep your eyes moist. You can ask the doctor to prescribe a safe lubricating eye drop if the eyes feel dry and itchy.

Never ignore any redness of eye, cloudy vision, difficulty with current glasses, seeing flashes of light-seek medical opinion immediately.
The perspective of preventive health disease has become the need of the day with increasing health care cost and quality. Annual health related checkups prove the following saying very well….”A stitch in time saves nine”

Wish you and your family a healthy sight seeing lifelong!