Eye health and eye care are crucial to protect our sight, prevent many common eye disorders and treat eye problems early.
Nutrition for healthy eyes
We all remember our grandmother telling us to eat carrots to help our eyes and we could have eyes like an eagle. She was not at all wrong. Good nutrition keeps us healthy overall, but good nutrition for eyes can make a big difference. But what do carrots really do for us?
Carrots and other various food sources contain a carotenoid called beta-carotene. Our body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants such as vitamin A are essential for eye health. Basically, carotenoids are pigments in plants and animals that provide red and yellow color.
Antioxidants are good nutrition for eyes - nutrients which can help prevent or slow oxidative damage to the body by reducing free radicals. Free radicals are byproducts of oxygen use by cells in the body. Antioxidants lock onto free radicals, which can help prevent and repair damage caused by free radicals.
Antioxidants are good nutrition for eyes because they can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration. Diabetes, which can cause problems in the eye, can be related to oxidative damage in the body.
Common antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, E and selenium. Antioxidants can be found in fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. It is always better to obtain antioxidants from food instead of synthesized supplements.
Vitamin A: Helps our eyes adjust to light changes. Vitamin A: Moistens the eyes, which can enhance visual acuity. Vitamin A: Has been shown to prevent the forming of cataracts. Vitamin A: Has been shown to help prevent blindness from macular
It seems vitamin C is an important antioxidant for just about everything these days - and it deserves mention in the benefits it has in protecting our eyesight. Vitamin C has been linked to the prevention of cataracts, the delay of macular degeneration and eye pressure reduction in glaucoma patients. Add all these benefits to the seemingly endless other benefits that vitamin C has been linked to for our overall health: it is a Vitamin you do not want to be miss.
Lutein is another carotenoid that our body turns into an antioxidant. Lutein is the primary carotenoid located in the center of the retina, called the macula. Lutein is found in food sources such as spinach, broccoli and peas.
Best sources of antioxidants are:
- Vitamin A: brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as peaches, tomatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots and squash.
- Degeneration - the leading cause of blindness in the world.
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables such as oranges, lemons, limes, broccoli, plus green peppers, tomatoes and strawberries.
- Vitamin E: Whole grains, nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables and oils.
- Selenium: Grains, eggs, fish and shellfish, garlic and chicken.
Antioxidants can also be found in other food categories, such as:
- Lutein (dark green vegetables such as spinach, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and kale)
- Flavonoids and polyphenols (Soy, cranberries, tea, pomegranates and purple grapes)
- Lignan (oatmeal, flax seed, rye and barley)
- Lycopene (watermelon, pink grapefruit and tomatoes)
Eye Infections: are eye ailments that are caused by bacterial, viral or other microbiological agents. There are many different types of eye infections with different causes and treatments. Some eye infections are common while others are not.
Most of us will either have come upon an eye infection or know someone who has had one. People who wear contact lenses often find themselves getting some type of eye infection. This is due to the bacterial buildup from constantly wearing the lenses without proper disinfecting. Some common eye infections are pink eye and Blepharitis. Trachoma is another eye infection, more common in poor countries, that is spread easily and can lead to blindness. Eye infections usually require some type of medication for treatment. Although some are not as dangerous, there are some eye infections that require a doctor's immediate attention. If you believe you have an eye infection, you should seek an eye care professional for advice on type and treatment of the eye infection. Eye infections can affect any part of the eyes from the eye lids to the cornea and even to the optic nerves in the back of the eye.
Eye strain and vision problems due to the prolong computer use
The use of computers has increased over the past two decades. This has resulted in an increase in health disorders associated with computer use, the most common of which are eye strain and vision problems. While eye health problems related to computer use are usually temporary, they cause significant discomfort to computer users and are largely preventable.
Like the human body, the human eye is not designed for looking at a computer screen for prolonged periods. The use of computers for prolonged period increases the risk for the eyes to become strained.
In addition to computer use, other factors that contribute to eye and vision disorders in an office environment include air conditioners, ventilation fans, static build up, airborne paper dust and contaminants. Computer users also have a decreased blink rate and increased ocular surface exposure due to horizontal viewing of the screen, which can increase the tendency for their eyes to become dry.
Use an appropriate computer screen
Use a large, clean screen with a flat surface. The user should also ensure their screen has easily adjustable contrast and brightness and that images displayed on the screen are in sharp, in clear focus and do not flicker.
Work station ergonomics
The most important ergonomic factor for eye strain is the distance of the eyes from the computer screen. Computer users should arrange their workstation so that the computer screen is 18-30 inches from their eyes. In addition computer users should take measures to reduce glare on their screen. Ergonomic measures which can reduce glare include placing computer screens at a 90° angle to windows (they should never be placed directly in front of or behind a window) and to the side, rather than directly below light sources (e.g. in between rows of fluorescent lights).
Preventing eye health problems related to computer use
There are many measures which individuals can take to minimize the risk of developing eye strain and vision problems as a result of prolong computer use.
Take regular breaks from computer use
To allow the eyes to recover and focus on distant objects, users should take regular breaks from looking at their computer screen. Clinical optometrists often suggest the 20/20/20 rule, that is, after 20 minutes of computer use, look at something 20 feet (6 meters) away for at least 20 seconds.
It is also recommended that computer users periodically take more substantial breaks (at least one 15 minute break after two hours of computer use) to prevent eye problems and muscular skeletal disorders associated with computer use. Computer users engaged in intensive keyboard work should take a 15 minute break every hour.
Perform eye exercises regularly
Computer users should take a few minutes to perform simple eye exercises every hour.
Wear glasses not contact lenses
The use of contact lenses increases the severity of symptoms of dry-eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). This syndrome is a common eye condition amongst computer users, research indicate that up to 48% of computer users experience dry eyes. Computer users who wear contact lenses experience more severe symptoms of dry eye because contact lenses can cause friction if the eye is not well lubricated. If the surface of the eye is dry, the contact lens also becomes dry and sticks to the upper eyelid during blinking. This "friction effect" from dry eye is what produces the discomfort.