Never lose sight of it. Regular physical activity is not only good for our overall well-being, but also takes care of dryness and itching of the eyes, according to a study released this month by the University of Waterloo, Canada. “Dry eyes has become a common problem due to excessive use of digital screens. In one of the in-house studies at the hospital this year, we have found that almost 40 per cent of patients in our Out Patient Department (OPD) were heavy screen users and suffered from dry eyes,” says Dr Vandana Jain, Regional Head, Clinical Services, Dr Agarwal’s Eye Hospital, Mumbai.
Lesser or lack of exercise and increasingly longer hours in front of screens are two major factors for the rising problem of dry eyes. But several studies over the last decade have shown that people who are physically active and exercise regularly have better and healthier ocular surfaces and have less dry eyes despite spending a significant amount of time on screens.
“Regular exercise aids effective blood circulation throughout the body and keeps the retinal cells safe by lowering the pressure in the eye and increasing the blood flow to the optic nerve and retina. Exercise promotes hydration and wards off dry and itchy eyes. Studies show that along with improvements in the overall eye health, people with glaucoma have also benefited,” says Dr Mahipal Singh Sachdev, Chairman and Medical Director, Centre For Sight Group of Eye Hospitals, Mumbai.
Excessive screen use disrupts the tear film, which is also the layer that protects eyes from dust, dirt and other irritants from contacting the eyeball. “Reduced blink rates causes ocular surface inflammation, which impacts all the layers of the tear film,” Dr Jain explains.
What the Experts Say
In a world of digitisation with too much dependence on computers, dry eye management should be a part of the health management of office workers. Nothing can be better than including some form of physical
activity in your routine. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and try to work on work-life balance because in the long-run, this is the best way to better productivity and health, including that of the eyes.
For Super Vision
✥The most common reasons for vision issues and eye damage include high blood sugar levels, hypertension, and high cholesterol
✥The best way to fight off dry and itchy eyes is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, avoid smoking, and staying active
✥ Add fish oil or omega-3 to meals