Ian is a Senior Orthopedic Officer and a Palliative Care specialist with more than 10 years of experience in patient care.
Our eyes 'make life come to Life'. With them, we are able to observe and appreciate our surroundings, find our way through the rocky ground, and also express our most profound emotions. But above all, they add that million-dollar value to any smile. For both men and women, beauty is very important and the eyes are a major object of beauty.
It is impossible to exhaust the importance of our eyes. Interestingly, however, most people take them for granted, until they get a problem with sight. This article shares tips on how to care for your eyes to preserve both beauty and sight.
Five simple ways to care for your eyes
1. Wash with adequate clean water.
For most people, caring for their eyes is limited to a simple morning wash just after bed. While this is a basic form of self-care, it is important to do it correctly to achieve the desired glamour.
The eyes require periodic cleaning with plenty of clean water. Avoid washing in a hurry. Use plenty of lukewarm or room temperature water to wash away dirt and irritants like dust and make-up residue. This reduces the risk of infection such as styes, trachoma, and other forms of conjunctivitis.
2. Avoid picking the eyes with dirty fingers.
This is a common mistake and frankly, we're all guilty of this one. We use our fingers for various activities which expose them to dirt and a variety of pathogens. Touching the eyes with un-sanitized fingers can cause considerable exposure to these pathogens leading to infection and irritation.
Whenever possible, wash or sanitize your hands before touching your eyes. In most cases, a clean handkerchief should be used to pick the eyes whenever necessary. Remember that using the same handkerchief for the eyes and nose exposes the eyes to nasal micro-organisms which may infect the eyes.
3. Avoid working in dusty or smoky environments
Various daily activities expose the eyes to foreign objects. If it is inevitable to work in such an environment, protective gargles should be used to protect the eyes from foreign objects and associated injuries. Also, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from sunlight causes damage to the sensitive retina and may impair vision in the long term. You should get sunglasses from a trusted source to avoid counterfeits.
4. Ensure adequate light for reading.
In communities where electric power supply is unreliable, and for students who are under strict examination schedules, it is common to find people reading in less than optimal light conditions, especially at night. Although there isn't sufficient evidence to suggest that reading in low light conditions can affect eyesight in the long term, this habit can strain the eyes and can cause them to appear red or bloodshot the following morning. If whatever you are reading is not very urgent, you could postpone it and get some sleep instead. Too much light will also strain the eyes.
5. Get adequate sleep.
The constant pressure to beat work or assignment deadlines means that people often work long hours. This greatly reduces sleep time. This is harmful to general well-being including the health of the eyes.
In addition to adequate sleep, it is important to avoid all forms of drug abuse including excessive alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking.
Problems that can result from inadequate eye care
Bloodshot eyes (red eyes)
This happens when small blood vessels at the surface of the eyes become enlarged and congested with blood. This occurs as a result of insufficient oxygen supply to the cornea. Unless associated with pain or impaired vision, they shouldn't raise concern.
Bloodshot eyes are more likely to occur after engaging in activities that strain or irritate the eyes such as; prolonged computer use, reading under inadequate light, sleep deprivation, alcohol hangover, and cosmetic products used over night. Environmental toxins, exposure to the sun, and cigarette smoke can also lead to bloodshot eyes. Drinking plenty of water, eating fresh fruits as well as foods rich in vitamin E, and C such as vegetable legumes, and fish will give a clear appearance to the eyes.
A stye is a small red, tender lump or swelling filled with water and pus usually near the edge of the eyelid, although it may also develop inside the eyelid. They are not known to have any lasting damage and because they are localized to the eyelid, the eyeball will be safe. The bacteria can however spread to cause conjunctivitis if the lump is forcefully ruptured.
Although they may not affect sight, they affect the beauty and can be excruciatingly painful. They are notorious for recurrence. The best way to prevent recurrence is to practice proper eye hygiene. This includes regular eyelid scrubs using clean water to remove excess cellular debris and bacteria. Wash off any makeup every night before going to sleep to avoid blocking the oil glands in the eyelid. Always keep your cosmetic tools clean. You may need to see a doctor if the styes keep recurring despite proper hygiene.
Also known as bacterial pink eye, the condition is a type of infection to the outermost mucous membrane of the eye called the conjunctiva, characterized by redness of the eye, eyelid swelling, and mucopurulent discharge which may at times be greenish or yellowish in color. There may be mild pain and/or an itchy feeling and trouble opening the eyes, especially in the morning as a result of the discharge crusting over the eyes. A pink eye may also be caused by a virus or allergic reaction. It is therefore important to visit a doctor for proper diagnosis and adequate management. Bacterial pink eye is contagious and therefore requires good hygiene to minimize its spread from one person to another.
This is sometimes called dry eye syndrome. It results from deficiency from any of the tear film layers. Symptoms include gritty foreign body sensation, burning, photophobia, and reduced visual acuity. Some medications like Ibuprofen (NSAIDs), Atenolol (Beta-blockers), and Thiabendazole can cause dry eyes. It is therefore important to avoid self-medication or abuse of prescription drugs as they may affect your health in unwanted ways. Always notify your health care provider in case these symptoms occur as a result of your medication.
Always seek professional medical advice for proper diagnosis and proper treatment in case you notice any of the symptoms mentioned here.
This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2011 Ian Batanda