Dear Doctor/ Dr Rohit Shetty, consultant, cornea and refractive surgery, and vice chairman, Narayana Nethralaya, Bengaluru
Early humans were hunter-gatherers, who used their eyes to meet their basic needs. These days, people overuse their eyes. In this era of gadgets, our eyes are going through rapid evolutionary changes, and are trying to adapt to changes in the environment. The rest of the body has also undergone changes, but it has been more gradual.
Blink more often
We don’t blink enough. Every blink brings in more water. It helps keep your eyes lubricated. Eyes that are devoid of moisture are like a barren land, where bacteria grows. The fluid in the eyes gets muddy, and you will keep rubbing your eyes. When your eyes don’t get enough nourishment, bags and dark circles develop. How often should you blink? Anything more than ten times a minute is good.
Are carrots overhyped?
Carrots contain beta carrotene and lutein that improve eyesight. They are good and healthy, but are overrated. There are many vegetables that can promote better vision. Also, turmeric, sprouts, blueberries, almond and omega-3 fatty acid are good for eyes.
Eyes hate to be indoors all the time
In a study done in Singapore, children exposed to sunlight for up to two hours were found to have less progression of shortsightedness, compared to children who stayed indoors all the time. Sunlight helps in stopping the eyeball growth, and reduces the axial length of the eyeball.
Huge increase in cases of shortsightedness this year
Due to the scare generated because of Covid-19, people spend long hours indoors. By the end of 2020, there will be an increase in shortsightedness among children, by 20-30 per cent.
Most children, nowadays, spend 80 per cent of their time in front of computer. The more they watch television or use computer, the more will be the elongation of their eyeballs. Ninety per cent of elongation of eyeballs is irreversible.
Eye care during Covid-19
Wearing masks for long hours could cause face mask-associated ocular disease, characterised by eye irritation.
The expelled air that gets trapped in the mask can lead to problems in the ocular surface area. There is an exponential increase in people experiencing it. Lubricating eye drops can help in relieving the irritation.
Keep myopia at bay
Ocular muscles in children are getting weaker leading to shorter attention span. Sometimes they see a shadow above objects or get double vision. This is known as binocular single vision problem. It is one of the most under-reported eye problems in the world and has to be examined by an ophthalmologist.
Eye exercise can be helpful for children with binocular single vision problem. It can have a huge impact on the child’s academic success..
—As told to Mini P. Thomas