Simple tips for Eye Care

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Eyes happen to be one of the most over – used external organs in our body. Despite this, very few think of caring for it. One thinks that washing the face while bathing, or maybe once or twice in the morning cleanses the eyes as well; you are wrong! A simple thing like washing your eyes (solely the eyes) with cold water daily can go a long way. Why do we need to take care of them? Because they perform one of the most vital functions in your body. Would you rather be without them? Well then don’t drain them.

Protecting one’s eyes from a young age can go a long way. Here’s what you could do –

  • Avoid reading in dim light. It strains your eyes. You need appropriate amount of light to read preferably coming from above your left shoulder.
  • Stop exposing your eyes to strong or bright light. When driving the vehicle ensure you do not use the high beam unless required and flash the lights when someone else is.
  • As mentioned above, wash your eyes with cold water at least twice a day, especially after you have returned home.
  • Avoid over – exposure of the sun. Wear sunglasses at all times, especially ones that protect you from UV rays.
  • Do not stare at your TV. Blink after every few seconds. The same goes with your laptop, computer, mobile screen. We have the habit of staring into the screen especially while watching something; it is one of the reasons why our eyes burn and we have trouble sleeping at night. Also, try looking away after every 15 – 20 minutes for about 30 seconds and rest your eyes. Or simply look away when there adverts are played on TV. Try keeping your computer or laptop screen at a lower eye level. Use anti – glare screen when necessary.
  • Avoid wearing your lenses for more than 18 – 19 hours. It can cause damage to your eyes – permanent damage.  Do not wear lenses while sleeping unless you have been told by your ophthalmologist. Your eyes need oxygen too, and lenses block the flow of oxygen to your eyes. Also, do not wear them while swimming unless you have your goggles on.
  • Do not rub your eyes unnecessarily and never rub them when your hands are dirty. Always ensure that your hands are clean before they come in contact with any part of the eye.
  • Eat carrots. Carrots are excellent for the eyes as they help improve vision.  It is high in the antioxidant beta – carotene that helps reduce the chances of macular degeneration (an incurable eye disease which consists of loss of vision) and cataracts. Studies suggest that if one consumes carrot on a regular basis when young, one may avoid having to wear spectacles.
  • Get an eye check – up done every 6 months or at least once in a year. Avoid eye – drops as much as possible.
  • Avoid wearing 3D glasses for too long. They hurt your eyes and give you headaches.
  • Quit smoking. Those who smoke have a higher risk of getting cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.

 

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An example of macular degeneration (beginning stages). Image courtesy: www.lighthouse.org

Apart from carrots, foods that keep your eyes healthy are –

  • Bell peppers (capsicum), broccoli and brussels sprouts (a kind of cabbage) are rich in Vitamin C and hence good for eyes.
  • Turkey and ostriches. If you are a vegan, you’ll cringe, but a meat lover knows they taste yum. Ostriches have a high amount of protein, iron and zinc, the latter being an essential component in keeping your eyes healthy. Your retina functions because of the presence of zinc; hence ostrich meat is a good bet. Turkey has a high amount of zinc too.
  • Sweet potatoes also contain a substantial level of beta – carotene.
  • Spinach. Spinach has four ingredients that are good for your eyes. They include vitamin C, beta carotene and large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin. The latter are a pair of antioxidants found in large amounts in the tissue of the macula (the yellow pigmentation in your eye in the retina) that is responsible for your vision. They have the ability to absorb around 40 – 90 % of blue light intensity and hence are like our eye’s personal sunscreen.  Research suggest that eating foods that are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin can increase the density of the pigment in the macula, further increasing the protection of the retina and in turn lower the risk of macular degeneration.
  • Foods rich in Omega 3 fats are another healthy source for your eyes. These include wild salmon, tuna and sardines.
  • Eggs, nuts and different types of beans.
  • Drink lots of water.

If you have get headaches without a suitable explanation, go for an eye checkup immediately. You could also try giving your eyes slight exercise when at home or at work – Take a pencil/ pen and focus your eyes on it. Bring it closer to you for a second or two and then take it farther from your eyes for other two or so seconds. Do about 5 – 10 repetitions. This will ensure your that eyes don’t get strained too easily.