India shelters over 20 per cent of the planet’s blind population, with most living in villages. Untreated cataracts and refractive errors are the biggest causes of visual impairment in the country. With “Love Your Eyes” being the theme of this year’s World Sight Day celebrations, we share five essential eye care tips below.
Take a break from the screen
The Covid-19 pandemic forced many to work from home and spend hours on end before computer screens. Many spent their leisure glued to their mobile phones. Such activities cause eye strain, dry eyes, red eyes, eye twitching, headaches, blurry vision and near-sightedness. As per the 20-20-20 rule, people should look away from their screens every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and stare at something about 20 feet away.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun have the shortest wavelength, high energy and can damage our eyesight. Mobile phone and computer monitor screens emit blue light, which is closest to ultraviolet light in the energy spectrum and can also tire our eyes. Special blue light filtering reading glasses, sunglasses or computer screen protectors can help minimise the damage to our vision.
Healthy food for healthy eyes
Antioxidant-rich vitamins C and E, certain carotenoids, and zinc and copper reduce degeneration of the eyes. Orange, strawberries, carrots, peas, cabbages, cauliflower, pumpkin, papaya, spinach, tomatoes, cashew, peanuts, almonds are good sources of such nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fishes like salmon and tuna, walnuts and flaxseeds also help reduce eye damage.
The eyes need rest after tiring those ocular muscles throughout the day. Sleeping allows the tensed eye muscles and nerves to relax and recover and helps restore lubrication through tears.
Rolling the eyeballs, heating our palms by rubbing them together and then placing them over our eyes, lightly massaging the eyes with our thumbs, energise our eye muscles and reduces fatigue. Warm-up exercises and walking exercises increase blood circulation, which also helps our eyes.
It is necessary to get our eyes tested from time to time. This will help identify and treat ocular diseases the patient may harbour.