New Delhi: There are about 2.2 billion people globally with near or distant vision impairment, according to a 2021 report by the World Health Organisation (WHO). India is the second-most populous country in the world and home to over 20 per cent of the world’s blind population. Addressing visual impairment is a major health issue across the globe, and while a number of factors are responsible for poor vision, including age, genetics, and the environment, everyday habits are just as important. There are indications that daily habits can affect a person’s eyesight and develop into further complications if not addressed in time.
What are these habits?
Too much screen time: Working for long hours, especially on a computer has become a reality for many people around the world. The pandemic and the work-from-home culture meant that people have to work virtually for long hours every day. Such a lifestyle can inevitably cause significant strain on your eyes and lead to eye-related problems if not properly checked. A condition often associated with this is “screen-sightedness” or computer vision syndrome. The 20-20-20 technique is a simple yet effective way to take frequent breaks to reduce the stress on your due to extended use of digital devices. Spend at least 20 seconds every 20 minutes looking at something 20 feet away.
Eating eye health-deficient diet: Including foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, vitamins C and E, and dark leafy greens, nuts, eggs, oranges, and seafood can help maintain eye health.
Not resting enough: Lack of sleep, especially when it happens on a regular basis, can have many negative effects on our health, both short-term and long-term, including a weakened immune system, weight gain, heart disease, high blood pressure, mood changes, and memory issues. It also affects the health of our eyes significantly. Not resting enough can manifest in bloodshot eyes, dark circles, blurred vision, dry eyes, and other conditions. According to research, the eyes need about 7 to 9 hours of good sleep daily to replenish themselves and function well.
Rubbing your eyes all day can also cause some damage to your sight. Rubbing the eyes can break blood vessels present under your eyelids. When the eyes are irritated, instead of rubbing the eyes, try applying a cold compress instead.
Not wearing sunglasses can also have harmful effects on your eyes. Our eyes are vulnerable to ultraviolet rays and weather elements which can affect the health of our vision in numerous ways. Wearing the right sunglasses on a regular basis can prevent the development of macular degeneration or cataracts. Beyond that, sunglasses also help protect against dry-eye syndrome by blocking the wind and dust that could gain access to your eyes.
Staying dehydrated. Water is essential for the body to help maintain hydration. Our eyes rely on water to help keep them lubricated in the form of tears. It is quite normal for dust, dirt, and other debris present in the air to sneak into our eyes. In the absence of moisture, one may develop dry, red, or puffy eyes. Thus, it is important to stay hydrated by consuming plenty of water every day.
Moreover, regular eye check-ups are essential for the timely identification and treatment of visual ailments.
(Dr. Rishi Raj Borah is a Country Director of India, Orbis)