You need eye care more than eye glasses

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 23 Desember 2012 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Healthy eyes are essential to your quality of life. So even if you don't wear glasses, you need to visit an eye healthcare professional regularly.

Preventive eye care and examination has a lot more to it than just vision correction. You might think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye doctor and having a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to really be sure of this.

Dr. Sanjay Dhawan, Additional Director, HOD Ophthalmology, Fortis Hospital says "there are many diseases having no symptoms, regular eye exams are the only way to catch those silent diseases in their early stages, when they're more easily treated." In addition, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration are often asymptomatic in the early stages. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages, especially because once the symptoms set in, the effects on vision are often irreversible.

Dr. Dhawan suggests Comprehensive eye exams allows the eye doctor to look directly at retinal blood vessels, thereby revealing potential warning signs of serious health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, even before the symptoms show up anywhere else in the body. In fact, examining the retinal blood vessels provides a real time report card of how these diseases are affecting blood vessels throughout the body. This information is valuable in medical management of these metabolic diseases.

A comprehensive eye examination includes the following:

Visual acuity test: This will require you to read letters on a chart in which the letters that get smaller as you read down each line. You cover each eye one after the other, and read aloud, going down the chart, until you can't read the letters anymore.

Examination of outer part of eye: This test requires the use of an instrument called Slit Lamp bio microscope. It provides a magnified view of the anterior part of the eye: namely the conjunctiva, cornea, lens and the anterior chamber. Your doctor also uses special lenses in conjunction with this apparatus to visualise your retina.

Examination of inner part of eye: This test is also performed on the slit lamp with specialised lenses. Additionally, your doctor may use a handheld instrument called the ophthalmoscope. The procedure is non invasive and does not hurt at all.

Measuring the pressures of eyes: This test uses an instrument called a Tonometer that measures the pressure inside eye. Patients with a family history of glaucoma in particular should be screened regularly with this because they are at an increased risk for this potentially blinding disease.

Assessment of color vision: This test is done to screen defects in color vision. Color deficiency affects the color of the things you see but not your vision. This is also hereditary in nature. Your doctor uses a colour chart called the Ishihara Chart to screen for this disease.

Measurement of cornea curvature: This test requires the use of an instrument called Keratometer. It is used to measure the curvature of the front surface of eye, called cornea. It helps to determine the correct size of the contact lenses.

Additional Director, HOD Ophthalmology, Fortis Hospital, Dr. Sanjay Dhawan informs it is important to have a routine eye examination regularly to not only detect any eye disease at an early stage but also to maintain good eye health.

Routine eye examination should be done as per following schedule:

o At Birth: to rule out any congenital eye disorders (e.g., cataract, glaucoma, etc).

o At 1 year: to rule out any developmental disorders of the eye (e.g., cataract, squint, retinoblastoma, etc.)

o At School Admission: to rule out refractive errors (need for spectacles), amblyopia (lazy eye), squint, etc.

o Then Every 3-5 years till the age of 40 years

o Every 1-2 years after the age of 40: to detect presbyopia, glaucoma, cataract, effects of any other disease of the body (e.g., Diabetes Mellitus), etc.

Tips for healthy eyes:

o Do not splash water into your eyes

o Get your eyes checked regularly

o Hold your reading material at least 40 cms away from your eyes

o For every 20 minutes of computer viewing, look into the distance for 20 seconds to allow your eye muscles to relax and refocus.

o To minimize your chances of developing dry eye when using a computer, remember to blink frequently. The Think and Blink principle will keep your eyes comfortable.

o Always ensure you get adequate sleep.

Dr. Dhawan says "Naturally occurring food items are more effective than artificial vitamin sources. The most important foods for eye health are ones that are rich in the antioxidants beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fats. A basic rule of thumb is to make sure your food plate has all of these colours: red, green, yellow and brown. Raw fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts should also be an integral part of your diet.

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