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For Your Eyes Only

What is the best way to take care of my eyes?

Eyes need constant care for their proper functioning. Many eye diseases are preventable. Maintaining healthy lifestyle which includes regular exercise and eating a balanced diet with lots of green leafy vegetables and fruits containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can prevent degenerative diseases such as Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

Preventing eye injuries is very important as they are one of the most common causes of visual loss. Wearing appropriate safety glasses during work and play can prevent these injuries. Children should be advised not to play with sharp objects.

Go for regular eye check-ups to detect asymptomatic diseases such as Glaucoma and Diabetic retinopathy so that timely intervention can prevent visual loss.

Are sunglasses good for my eyes?

UV rays in the sunlight are damaging to the eyes. Using sunglasses with high UV ray protection is the best way of protecting yourself from the harmful effects of UV rays.

I don’t feel any eye discomfort when I face the bright sun, thus do I need a sunglass?

Cumulative exposure to sunlight has been shown to be a significant risk factor in diseases such as Pterygium (a degenerative condition of the conjunctiva), cataract and age related macular degeneration. Pterygium is very common in Malaysia especially among outdoor workers who are exposed to sunlight for long periods. Use of sunglasses is recommended even though you may not face any discomfort.

When should I have my eye check-up?

Pediatricians and general practitioners should test children’s vision as part of a child’s medical examination. Referral to an Ophthalmologist may be needed if results indicate abnormality. Visual function (including ocular alignment) also should be checked by the pediatrician or family physician.

Adults should have a routine eye examination every 2- 5 years. As you age, eye examinations should become more frequent. High risk adults (those with diabetes and strong family history of Glaucoma) need to check their eyes annually to detect Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma at an early stage.

Should I wear my spectacle constantly?

Spectacles are needed by those who have refractive errors. Shortsightedness or Myopia is very common in children and young adults especially among ethnic Chinese. They are advised to wear spectacles during waking hours. Not only do spectacles provide clear vision, they are needed to prevent muscular imbalance which could lead to squinting especially in children.

Adults after the age of 40 commonly have reading difficulty. This condition is easily correctable with reading glasses.

Will staring at a computer screen for long hours hurt my eyes?

There is no evidence that staring at a computer screen for long hours has any permanent damaging effects on the eyes. However, it may lead to a temporary condition of Computer Vision Syndrome due to prolonged and uninterrupted use of computer. Common symptoms are headache, neck pain, blurred vision and dry eyes.

Resting the eyes after every 20 minutes and blinking helps in restoring the tear film function. Artificial tears may be used periodically by those who have persistent symptoms.

Will reading in dim light hurt my eyes?

No, there is no scientific evidence that reading in dim light will cause any permanent damage to the eyes. However, we are more comfortable reading with proper lighting which is bright enough to provide good illumination but not so bright as to cause glare.

Will sitting too close to the television set hurt my eyes?

Sitting too close to the television set is not damaging to the eyes though it may cause headaches, neck pain and dry eyes. It is advisable that a comfortable distance for viewing should be maintained depending on the size of the television screen.

Will wearing beauty contact lenses affect my eyes in the long run?

Contact lenses are commonly used to change colour of eyes. As long as the lenses are worn for short periods they are quite safe. Those using such lenses should adhere to the instructions provided by the manufacturer and not use them beyond the recommended time. Disposable lenses are safer to use. Long term use may lead to corneal problems in certain individuals

What is a cataract and how does it affect the vision? Will everyone suffer from it?

Cataract is clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. It leads to blurring of vision which progressively becomes worse as the cataract progresses. Initially, there may be difficulty in seeing bright lights.

Aging is the most common cause of cataract especially after the age of 50. Surgical intervention is needed only when cataract causes visual handicap.

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