Eye Health Tips
You may think that the health of the eyes only relates to eyesight. Certainly those who wear glasses and contact lenses are forced to look after their eyes more consistently, but eye health concerns a wide range of factors.
First of all, it is good to know that the eyes are part of the nervous system and to keep the eyes healthy we must make them suffer as little stress as possible.
Then there are many environmental factors that can put a strain on eye health, such as dust and dirt, sun, electronic devices and a whole series of eye-straining behaviors. Let’s see some useful tips to keep your eyes young and prevent problems related to aging.
Take an Eye Examination
Make sure your eyes are examined regularly, even if you don’t wear glasses or contact lenses. Sometimes even the most common eye problems do not give warning signs. The eye examination not only serves to check eyesight, but offers important information on eye pressure and the state of health of the retina.
Even if we do not feel pain, but our eyes are suffering from a swelling or are sensitive to light, it is wise to have a medical examination. The same is true when you happen to see dark spots or lights flashing in front of your eyes or you seem to have blurred vision.
Sunglasses are not a trendy item. UV radiation damages skin and eyes too. The damage is not immediately noticed, but can occur during the course of life. In fact, prolonged and frequent exposure to UV rays can cause troublesome problems such as cataracts or retinal diseases.
In order to avoid these disorders, it is important therefore, to wear sunglasses especially in summer when the light is stronger. However, even on cloudy days, UV radiation is always present. Sunglasses must always be worn on the snow or near water, in fact the eyes are easily exposed to the radiation reflected from the snow or from the surface of the water.
Especially the eyes of children and teenagers are very sensitive. Light eyes as green or blue are more sensitive to UV rays because the sunlight easily penetrate the retina.
To be sure of protecting your eyes effectively, you need to pay attention to the type of glasses used. You need to buy glasses that protect against both UV-A and UV-B radiation. The labels 100% UV or 100 UV 400 nm guarantee complete protection from UV rays up to 400 nanometers (UVA and UVB).
Avoid dark glasses that do not offer adequate protection, as they are even more harmful: the pupils dilate and thus allow more UV rays to penetrate the eye.
Finally, pay attention to the fact that the shape of the glasses adapts properly to your face and is large enough to prevent UV light from reaching your eyes through the upper, lower or lateral areas of the glasses.
Smoking is bad for your body and it is very harmful to your eyes. In smokers the risk of cataracts increases; moreover, often the smoke dries the eyes causing an unpleasant discomfort.
Harmful substances contained in tobacco have a bad influence on eye health. Smokers suffer from premature aging of the lens and this results in a decrease in the amount of protective antioxidants in the body. This increases the likelihood of an eye disease.
The most common eye diseases are: inflammation, cataracts, macular degeneration, damaged optic nerve, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma. These disorders are much more common in smokers than non-smokers. By quitting smoking, you can greatly reduce these risks.
It is very important for your eyes to receive enough vitamin A. This vitamin guarantees the proper functioning of the immune system, so as to protect us from disease. Vitamin A allows the eyes to adapt to light. Too much vitamin A, however, is not good for your body as it can also cause poisoning. We therefore recommend a balanced diet.
For this reason you should eat food rich in minerals like fruits and vegetables. It is also important to eat foods that stimulate circulation. Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and whole grains, for example. Alternatively, foods rich in zinc (dried fruit), lycopene (tomatoes), lutein (spinach) and zeaxanthin (corn). A varied diet is important because it allows you to keep your body healthy, including your eyes.
Be Aware of Screen Time
While working intensively on your computer staring at the screen, the eyes dry up a lot because the eyelids are blinked less and the artificial light stresses your eyes. This is why it is important to frequently pause the screen when working on the computer. During the break you looks away, close and open your eyes gently.
Moreover fresh air does not have a beneficial effect only on the lungs, heart and blood vessels. Corneas also receive oxygen directly from the air. Why? Because they don’t have their own source of oxygen. Those who must stay in enclosed and poorly ventilated areas such as offices for a long time often need to give their eyes relief with fresh air.
Also the distance is important. When watching television, the recommended distance is one meter. If you use a computer, keep your eyes 60 cm away from the screen.
It is very common to use a mobile phone or watch TV in the dark, but be aware that this habit damages your eyesight. The best thing to do is to keep the light on. Also, remember that on most screens you can adjust the brightness; therefore, take advantage of this option to rest your eyes.
Eye Care and Hygiene
In a spontaneous and uncontrolled way, we touch our face with our hands for about 3000 times a day. Eyes, mouth and nose are therefore exposed to germs and bacteria. Moreover when we have tired eyes we tend to rub them bringing dirt inside the eye. This is why we must be careful and try to avoid contact with the eyes as much as possible, and since the contact can be reduced, but not eliminated, our hands must always be clean.
Those who like to wear make-up should only use products tested against allergies and without preservatives. Products that irritate the eyes attach the protective layer on the cornea.
Before going to sleep, it is important to remove any trace of mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow from eyelashes and eyelids. Even make-up remover products must be delicate and the movements must not further stress the eye. Finally, rinse everything with clean water and dry the face with clean towels.
Do you suffer from eye discomfort after a trip to the countryside or the sea? You could be sensitive to dust. If washing your face is not enough, you can clean your eyes with a wet gauze. Clean starting from the side and moving towards the nose. If you believe there is a foreign object in your eye, rinse it with water or remove it with a wet cotton pad. If the symptoms persist or worsen, it is necessary to visit a doctor.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Among the many eye problems, there is one very neglected that has recently been recognized as a real syndrome: the dry eye.
Why does the eye become dry? The increase in temperatures, fumes and toxic substances dispersed in the air, too many hours with the eyes fixed on the computer, improper use of contact lenses, or even the use of some drugs: these are all factors that affect the defense system of the eye, mostly represented by that layer of tears that constantly day and night separate the ocular surface from the environment.
The presence of a good layer of tears is essential to allow the eye to have a good view. Otherwise, dry eyes can lead to visual disturbances, itching, discomfort, feeling of “sand in the eyes”.
The international commission of the National Eye Institute has divided the dry eye syndrome into two groups: hypolacrias, characterized by a reduced production of tears and dyslacrymia caused by an excessive evaporation of the tear film.
We open and close the eyelids about 1500 times a day and with this movement, we continually return the tear film, produced by numerous glands, which has the function of lubricating and protecting the eye.
Thus, the tear film formed by three layers, lipidic, aqueous and mucinous, is uniformly distributed on the conjunctiva and on the cornea. Any alteration of it has an effect on the functioning of the eye which, in fact, has difficulty in moving without this liquid. For example, when we spend too much time in front of the computer, we tend to blink less often and this may promote dry eye syndrome.
However, it is not only the technology responsible for this syndrome, but also the presence of a climate with low humidity and high temperatures that increases and aggravates the symptoms of dry eye.
As highlighted by the latest Global Change Research report presented in November 2018, climate change and global temperature increases have a direct effect on dry eyes.
Also there is both external and internal pollution: if on the one hand the smog and the increase in the concentration of fine particles in the air break our tear film and often cause inflammation, on the other hand even in closed and poorly ventilated areas they can generate microscopic dusts, molds and fungi that are dangerous for our health.
Try Exercises for The Eyes
When your eyes are tired and stressed, whether you wear glasses or not, you can benefit from some exercise. Just like the rest of our body, the eyes can also be trained and kept healthy. Try the following exercises:
Sit comfortably, relax your arms on a flat surface, close your eyes and place your palms over your eyes. Now inhale and exhale slowly and deeply for one or two minutes. The slight pressure exerted by the hands relieves pain and discomfort and restores proper eye pressure. With that done, slowly remove your hands and open your eyes again.
Exercise of the four directions
Sit comfortably with your head straight. At this point, look as far as possible in all four directions for two or three seconds each: up, down, left and right. Repeat three times. It is important to move only the eyes, not the head.
Eye socket massage
A light massage is extremely relaxing for the eyes. With your fingertips, gently massage the area below the eyebrows, from the top of the nose to the edge of the eyelids, making circular motions.