Looking At Ways To Care For Eyes

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - August 29, 2007
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There are many things I wish I could change about myself, such as having perfect vision.

I’ve been wearing glasses since the third grade and I still hate it as much as I did when my mom bought me those oh-so-cute pastel pink plastic frames.

Don’t get me wrong, glasses can be very fashionable. And with contacts, no one even knows you have bad eyes.

But for me, it’s just really not fun to wake up in the morning and not know what time it is because, well, you can’t see the clock.

Or to be driving down the freeway and then all of a sudden the wind knocks your contact out and you’re left driving home half blind.

And the truth is, I really don’t like having that extra step in my morning and bedtime routines.

Not only Bugs Bunny loves carrots
Not only Bugs Bunny loves carrots

I’m hoping to get laser eye surgery someday, but my optometrist wants me to wait another five years because my eyesight is still changing.

So, what causes a person’s eyes to go bad anyway, and what can be done about it?

Even if you have 20/20 vision now, you may end up needing to wear glasses later in your life.

“I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was 45,” says Dr. Ming Chen, M.D., a FACS board certified ophthalmologist and clinical assistant professor at the University of Hawaii School of Medicine. “Now, I need to wear reading glasses.”

According to Chen, things that can cause poor vision include age, genetics, diet, overuse of your eyes (for example: not getting enough sleep), over exposure to outdoor elements (such as the sun and wind) and bad habits (such as rubbing your eyes a lot).

“Also, people with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and thyroid are at a higher risk for having bad vision,” adds Chen.

To keep your eyes in good health, Chen suggests:

* Regular eye exams (once a year for people who wear glass-es/contacts and for people over 40). * Wear sunglasses when you’re outdoors. Ultraviolet light can damage the retina.

* Take control of any health problems you may have.

* If you need to wear glasses, make sure it’s the correct prescription, so you’re not straining your eyes.

* Stop rubbing your eyes. * Avoid reading in the dark. It can cause eye strain.

* Practice good hygiene. Dirty hands are not good for the eyes.

* Avoid using other people’s makeup.

* When removing your makeup, be sure to get it all off. Also, if you get an infection from your makeup, discard it immediately as it may be contaminated.

* Avoid sleeping with your contacts on. “Your lens becomes a culture media for bacteria, and this can increase your risk for an infection,” warns Chen. “And that can lead to a cornea ulcer which can cause permanent damage to the eye.

“Also, certain contact lens have been FDA approved for overnight wear, but from the doctor’s point of view, it’s still better not to do it.”

* Do not wear disposable contacts longer than they’re made for. Overwearing your contacts can cause protein or calcium deposit on the lens which can irritate your eyes and cause an eye infection. Your contacts may also be dirty which will make things blurry.

* Include vegetables and fruits in your diet.

“Yes, carrots are good for your eyes,” says Chen. “It has a lot of vitamin A which prevents your eyes from getting dry and it gives good nutrition to the eye.

“Also, oranges are good because it has vitamin C, and green-leafed vegetables, such as spinach, has been proven to be good for the eyes. Also, fish is good too.”

If you’re in front of the computer for long hours, it’s a good idea to take a break from the screen every 20 to 30 minutes.

“Look away for a few minutes, or go outside and take a deep breath,” suggests Chen. “Generally, there’s nothing harmful about it except that it makes your eyes tired and dry.”

For 24 hours a day, your eyes are constantly working. Even when you sleep, they’re moving. So, take good care of them.

Bugs Bunny sure loved his carrots, and so should we. Your eyes will thank you for it. And don’t forget the eye exams.

What’s up, doc?

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