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Protect Your Sight: Learning To Avoid Eye Problems

Dr. Faisal Iqbal

3 min read

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Of all the five senses, sight is most dear to many people; yet, the fact that vision loss risk increases as you age is undeniable. However, since most genetic and age-related eye problems are incurable, certain safety measures taken in your early years can help ensure that you do not encounter eye problems for as long as possible and maintain optimum eye health later in life.

1- Know Your Genes

A family history of diabetes and high blood pressure might expose you to a higher risk of developing macular degeneration (distortion or loss of central vision), glaucoma, eye strokes, and diabetic retinopathy-the leading causes of blindness in adults.

This makes regular diabetes tests absolutely necessary in order to detect and treat these conditions as early as possible. Retinitis Pigmentosa (night blindness and gradual vision loss) is also a genetically inheritable eye disorder that should be checked for, regularly.

2- Get Regular Checkups

Since some potentially blinding eye disorders can only be detected through professional eye examinations, avoid skipping out on yearly Ophthalmologist appointments.

A comprehensive baseline eye exam should be conducted at age 40, when early signs of eye disease and vision changes present themselves; followed by regular eye exams every 2-4 and 1-3 years for those aged 40-55 and 55-64, respectively. For diabetics and people over 65, yearly eye exams are recommended.

3- Stay Alert

Get acquainted with your eyes. If you experience regular eye pain, swelling, double or hazy vision, or have difficulty seeing in low light conditions, contact your doctor immediately. Frequent flashes of light and increased floaters (spots in vision when looking at something) might also warrant booking an appointment.

4- Exercise

Physical exercise not only helps prevent diabetes and the resultant diabetic retinopathy, but also improves eye health by strengthening blood vessels and improving blood circulation. Moreover, regular exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by 70%.

5- Eat Healthy

A well-balanced diet, in general, helps fight obesity and keep type 2 diabetes and retinopathy at bay. Moreover, a diet rich in antioxidants such as Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Vitamin C (found in leafy green and bright orange vegetables, among others) can reduce the risk of cataracts.

Adequate consumption of omega-3 fatty acids through fish helps prevent dry eye syndrome by increasing tear production, as well as macular degeneration.

6- Ultraviolet Defense

Being one of the finest parts of the body, the skin around your eyes is highly susceptible to UV radiation-a known cause of Basal and Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma, which account for nearly 5-10% of all skin cancers.

Remember to wear sunscreen and sunglasses-preferably wraparound styles-with 98-100% resistance to UVA and UVB (long and short wavelength) rays before going outdoors to prevent cancerous tumors, along with cataract and macular degeneration.

7- Wear Protective Eye wear

Just as sunglasses shield your eyes from Ultraviolet radiations, wearing safety glasses, helmets with protective masks, or sports goggles with poly carbonate lenses while working with tools and playing active sports, particularly hockey, squash, racquetball and polo, can protect the eyes from injuries and permanent loss of vision.

8- Use Proper Lighting

Performing eye intensive activities such as reading or working on the computer in improper lighting, both extremely bright and dim, forces eye squinting; causing discomfort and frequent headaches that may lead to vision defects and other eye problems.

To avoid eye strain, make sure that the light source is either above or behind your shoulders, instead of facing it directly.

9- Contact Care

Whether you use cosmetic or prescription grade contact lenses, practice appropriate lens hygiene by wash your hands before handling the lenses; and refrain from cleaning your contacts using saliva, water or a wetting solution to evade eye infections.

Moreover, avoid overnight lens wear, expired lenses and lens solutions, as they may cause corneal ulcers and vision loss, in extreme cases.

10- Stop Smoking

Regular smoking, and secondhand smoke, contribute towards the buildup of cyanide in the bloodstream, which can damage the eye cells and result in cataracts or uveitis (inflammation of the pigmented layer of the eye). In addition, smokers are also placed at a higher risk of developing age related macular degeneration.

While these measures might not guarantee lifelong 20/20 vision, making positive lifestyle changes can ensure that you enjoy the full visual spectrum for as long as possible.

11- Minimise Computer Screen’s Damange

Here are a few tips to decrease the likelihood of encountering eye problems because of frequent usage of computer/phone screens.

  • Keep your glasses/contacts prescription up to date.
  • Get computer glasses after consulting with your doctor.
  • Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor.
  •  Use an anti-glare screen for your laptop/computer.
  • Blink more to avoid your eyes drying up.
  • Rest your eyes every 20 minutes.
  • Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.

You can book an appointment with a top Ophthalmologist in Lahore, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your ocular needs.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Faisal Iqbal - Author Dr. Faisal Iqbal is Eye specialist and surgeon based in Lahore. Patients can seek his advice on a number of medical conditions like color blindness, cataract surgery, allergies, red eyes, eye removal, and correction of eye bags.
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