BENGALURU: Being blessed with good vision is not enough. One needs to make sure that the eyes stay healthy with a good diet and adequate exercise. “In this age of technology, we are using our eyes more than ever to stare at our cell phones, computer screens, gaming consoles and televisions which can lead to eye fatigue,” observes Dr Bhujanga Shetty, director Narayana Nethralaya
Following some simple steps can prevent the need for medical intervention.
Rest and relaxation
Adequate sleep is essential for eye health to allow the eyes to repair and recover. Eight hours of sound sleep a night will go a long way in attaining better vision. It is also important to take a break once an hour during a workday.
Ten minutes of rest is needed for every 50 minutes spent reading or in front of the computer.
Eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally. Vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like copper and zinc are essential. Grapefruit, strawberries, and brussels sprouts are a good source of vitamin C. Papaya, oranges, and green capsicums are other sources. Sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, almonds and vegetable oils are also good sources of vitamin E. Antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, protect eyes from sun damage.
These can be found in dark leafy greens, egg yolks, yellow capsicums, pumpkins, sweet potatoes and carrots. Foods rich in sulfur, cysteine and lecithin help protect the lens from cataract formation with good sources being garlic, onions and shallots.
Recent reports have shown that anthocyanin-rich blueberries, grapes and goji berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve vision. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fresh-water fish and provides structural support to cell membranes to boost eye health.
Take a break from the computer
Computer-related eyestrain is experienced by most of us as a consequence of staring at a computer screen all day long in poor lighting. What makes the situation worse is the use of electronic reading devices and gaming consoles for entertainment. The resultant eye strain can cause headaches and work errors thereby dampening productivity. But in this day and age there is no option of doing away with the computer. Instead, there are some measures one can take to relieve the strain in the form of some simple exercises, feel experts.
Constantly staring at objects up-close can tire the eye muscles. To help the eyes adjust between objects both near and far, one should start observing other objects in the surrounding environment, like a piece of furniture or a television at the other end of the room. The idea is to take a visual break and focus on something else at least once every hour. One can also follow the “20-20-20 rule” by looking away from the computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. There is a tendency to stare at the computer screen when one is engrossed in work. This leads to suboptimal blinking, causing dryness and irritation of eyes. Hence, it’s very important to blink consciously while using the computer.
A combination of good diet and awareness combats eye strain. B N Ramesh, HOD, Department of Ophthalmology, Govt Ayurveda College says that use of candle therapy and ball therapy can improve eye sight.
In candle therapy, the patient is asked to close one eye and gaze at a moving candle for five to ten minutes every day. In ball therapy, the patient is asked to observe the ball movement while it is juggled from one hand to another. This benefits the eye lens and results in better eye sight.