Am I going blind?

Dear Doctor, I once had an eye checkup (about 6 months ago) and everything came out okay. But lately i feel like my sight is deteriorating and I don’t know if it’s from constantly looking at a computer or perhaps watching too much TV when I get home. Sometimes, they even get itchy. What’s that all about? Am I going blind or something? Now, I have to really strain my eyes to see or move closer.
Dr Rachna Pande
Dr Rachna Pande

Dear Doctor, I once had an eye checkup (about 6 months ago) and everything came out okay. But lately i feel like my sight is deteriorating and I don’t know if it’s from constantly looking at a computer or perhaps watching too much TV when I get home. Sometimes, they even get itchy. What’s that all about? Am I going blind or something? Now, I have to really strain my eyes to see or move closer.

What’s going on with me?

 

Angela, 31

 

Dear Angela,

 

Computers have changed the world both positively and negatively. While they have improved relationships between people and have been sources of information, they have also created physical health hazards for users. These include eye strain problems.

When one works continuously for long hours on a computer, eyes are subjected to strain. Watching a small screen continuously, with improper light adjustment at times becomes stressful for the eyes as well.

The accommodating power of the eyes is also over stretched while watching the small screen for a long time. Way back people would start using eye glasses when they were over the age of 50 but constant use of computers has reduced the age to 18 years or even younger.

Young children wearing thick glasses are a common sight, more so in affluent families.  

Previously weak eyes, dryness of the eyes were a result of lack of necessary nutrients useful for good healthy eyes. Now there are other factors which aggravate the problem of eye strain due to computers.  

Watching television continuously is also stressful for the eyes.

Due to the strain on the eyes, one can have redness, tiredness, itching and pain over and around eyes. This may be accompanied by headache and reduced far vision. One may have either one or all of these manifestations, which are collectively known by the term, “CVS”, computer vision syndrome.

A person has to be careful to avoid eye problems while using computers. The light falling on the monitor should be adjusted such that the eyes feel comfortable. Any kind of glare should be avoided. Similarly light adjustment is important while watching television.

After working for an hour or so, one should close the eyes for a few minutes; this allows them to rest. Alternately one can get up, stretch the body as well and try to look far for some time.

Blinking the eyes intermittently prevents dryness and reduces the strain put on the eyes. One can also use lubricating eye drops for keeping the eyes well lubricated. Outdoor sports and games are useful for the eyes as well.

Nutritious diets rich in vitamin A and B complex help in strengthening eye muscles. Fresh green vegetables, yellow fruits, carrots and whole grains are useful in this regard. There are also specific exercises to keep the eye muscles strong and flexible and when done regularly they also help in avoiding eye strain and make them accommodative.

If one has any eye related problem, it is advisable to get the eyes checked and use glasses of a suitable number prescribed. Those already using eye glasses should get the number reviewed every 6 months.

Dr. Rachna Pande is a specialist in Internal Medicine at Ruhengeri Hospital

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