Surprising to many- not much!
Our eyes are designed to self-service itself.
Just the act of blinking has several functions:
- Blinking lubricates the eye with tears
- The tear film forms a layer of optically smooth surface for you to have clear vision.
- Tears contain antibacterial substances and enzymes which protects the eyeballs against infections and inflammation.
- Blinking cleans the eye of dust particles and dirt just like a wiper of your car.
If your body is healthy, your eyes will be too.
Everything that is required for a healthy lifestyle also applies to the eyes.
- A balanced antioxidant rich diet
- Regular exercise
- 7-8hrs of uninterrupted sleep
- Positive attitude.
Eyes are the windows to the body
One of the very less known facts about the eyes is that many of the effects of diseases in the body- Diabetes, Hypertention, auto-immune diseases, brain disorders,etc- can be observed by looking at the eye with a microscope. Many diseases can be diagnosed by examining the eyes with certain instruments. This video by national geographic is a brilliant demonstration of what I’m saying.
However modern lifestyles can give rise to several occupational problems.
Computer vision syndrome.
With the advent of modern technology and our work involving spending long durations staring at screens, it does impact the eye. Staring at bright screens causes you to blink less causing your corneas to dry up. Eyes drying up causes corneal epithelial erosions which causes irritation. When you sleep the corneal epithelium heals and hence you feel better after that rest.
The ways to counter this problem would be to use over the counter tear substitutes which are preservative free. (Genteal /Refresh Plus) for symptomatic relief. But mainly one has to make a lifestyle modification to improve one’s dry eye condition.
- Do not work with screens for more than one hour at a stretch.
- Take a break every 45-60 mins for 5 mins and close your eyes for that period and then focus on some distant object and then resume working on your computer.
- Also whenever you stare at screens blink more often (and you have to do that consciously).
Self Diagnosis over Google
This is also a hazard of modern living. I have at least two newly minted software engineers coming to my office every week thinking they are smarter than all doctors because they know how to google stuff on the internet. I’m bemused that they treat internet like some God having all the answers to life’s problems.
Sorry to burst the bubble- not everything on the internet is true just because it is there. The reliability of the source is important. There will be several websites claiming if you instill ‘cow urine’ into your eye that will cure you of ‘eye disease’. That doesn’t make it true!
Protection against external trauma
It is a very important aspect and I would like to stress that protection to the eye and head is very important.
- Many eye and face injuries can be prevented by just using helmets while riding bicycles, motorbikes and other activities which involve a high risk of falling down.
- Using eye protection while playing contact sports or any sport where injury to the eye is a possibility is important. For reference read about how the cricketing careers of Saba Karim and Mark Boucher ended.
- Protective eye gear while working in hazardous occupations like welding, polishing and grinding cannot be overstated. It prevents unnecessary hospital visits.
Finally I would like to conclude by saying that your eyes are delicate but robust organs. Despite that when you have an eye problem consult an Ophthalmologist and not the internet.