Don't turn a blind eye to your vision problems

Dont turn a blind eye to your vision problems

Dubai - Good lifestyle choices are at the heart of good eye health.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Sun 31 Mar 2019, 11:03 PM

Last updated: Mon 1 Apr 2019, 5:35 PM

Many of us make health and wellness a priority but we may not always think about the health of our eyes. Lifestyle choices and habits influence the health of the body generally, including the eyes. Younger and older members of the family are especially vulnerable to eye conditions, along with people living with diabetes and the potentially serious eye complications of the disease.
Dr Luisa Sastre, specialist ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital Dubai, said: "We often take our eyes and vision for granted until we have a problem and it is much better to pick up any potential abnormalities or health issues before they become serious.
"This is why regular screening is so important and especially for younger children and people with diabetes, who face special risks to their eyesight."
Good lifestyle choices - exercise, nutrition, hydration, sun protection, and regular check-ups, especially for older and younger members of the family - are at the heart of good eye health.
There are also simple but important habits that one can develop to take proper care of the eyes.
Dr Mazen Senjab, consultant ophthalmology at Medcare Eye Centre, said: "Avoid electronics as much as possible and use eye lubricants as long as you work on the computer."
The 20-20-20 rule
Follow the 20-20-20 rule when using electronics, experts have advised. This method was developed by Dr Jeff Anshell, a specialist in vision ergonomics. "For every 20 minutes (spent on electronics), look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds," Dr Senjab said.
To maintain good eyesight, one should also not smoke. People must avoid high-fat and fast food. And doing sports or any physical activity, at least 30 minutes daily, will be beneficial to the eyes. 
Dr Senjab advised parents to get their children's eyes checked at birth, when they are six months old and when they turn one, five, 10 and 18.
Following the recommendation of the American Optometric Association, everyone should have a dilated exam every year or two; and annually after they turn 60, according Dr Sandeep Mark Thirumalai, specialist ophthalmology at NMC Specialty Hospital, Abu Dhabi. "Preventive eye care is the first line of defence against vision problems. Early detection of vision problems may offer more effective treatment options," he said.
Eating at least five servings daily of fruits and vegetables, taking regular breaks while doing computer work and other tasks that mostly involve eyes, wearing sunglasses when outdoors, and ensuring that blood pressure and cholesterol are under control are also very important.
"We may not be aware of it, but 80 per cent of what we learn is through our eyes," Dr Vidhi Majithia, specialist ophthalmogist at International Modern Hospital, said.
She recommended a healthy lifestyle, including doing regular exercises like running, to reduce the risk of glaucoma and cataract development. "If you have a family history of glaucoma or any other eye disease, be sure to see your ophthalmologist to get yourself checked and maintain regular follow-ups. Glaucoma is known as a sneak-thief-of-sight."
Keep an eye on the kids
Parents should also pay close attention to their kids, experts said.
According to Dr Majithia, if a child is watching TV too closely or squinting while watching, this is a sign he/she might need to visit an ophthalmologist. "Encourage your child to engage in outdoor activities and physical games over hand-held games; make sure they eat citrus fruits and vegetables with carotene like tomatoes and carrots; and keep them well hydrated.
"It is very important to give our eyes what they need to be healthy. A steady supply of nutritious foods and vitamins will keep our eyes - and our body - at its best condition."

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