Eyes are very important to us, so we have to be careful to look after them. They show us our world and they show others how we are feeling. When we talk to other people, we notice what their eyes are saying as well as what they are saying with their mouths. You can tell by someone's eyes whether they are happy or sad or angry.
The main function of our eyes is to see. It is important to understand the difference between eyesight and vision. 'Eyesight' means being able to see (I can see something out there).'Vision' means being able to understand what you are seeing (I know what it is - it is a tree).
80% of the information we process through our lifetime is received through our eyes, the most important of our senses. Systemic medication for diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, anxiety disorders and many other have an adverse effect on your eyes, especially the tear layer. Always work with good lighting, especially when reading. Take regular breaks every half hour when working with a computer. Always try to get enough sleep, and where not possible, use lubricating drops to sooth tired eyes. Be sure your spectacles and good quality sunglasses have a UV, and an antireflective filter layer.
Wear eye protection whenever doing tasks where the eyes are at risk. Compare the 2 eyes from time to time by closing one eye, and comparing the vision to that of the other eye. Be aware of any sudden changes. These need urgent attention. Don’t ignore symptoms. Know what to do in an emergency. Have regular eye checkups with your Optometrist.
Medication and Eyedrops
Various systemic medication side effects are known to affect your eyes, and your vision. Always be sure to read the medication inserts, or check with your doctor, pharmacist, or your eyecare practitioner. Be aware that many herbal preparations, although completely natural can also have severe consequences on eyes and vision. In general, the most common side effects experienced from systemic medications are blurred vision, eye redness, and dry eyes.
Some typical systemic medications with common eye side effect include:
- Alpha 1 Blockers – there are many, but typically Flowmax is the most common.
- Amiodarone – for treating cardiac arrhythmias.
- Anticholinergics – typically dry eye and mouth. Can worsen the risk of angle closure glaucoma.
- Corticosteroids – steroid responders have eye pressure spikes. Also cataracts are common.
- Ethambutol – For treatment of TB. Typically can be toxic to the optic nerve. Damage is irreversible.
- Cipro – associated with increased risk of Retinal Detachment.
- Gilenya – can cause Macula Edema. Be aware of sudden changes. Blurriness and shadows.
- Interferon – Retinal Hemorrhages near the optic nerve. Can cause irreversible vision loss.
- Zoloft – reduced near focussing. Occasional double vision.
- Tricyclic antidepressants – decreased tearing. Decreased near focussing. Angle closure glaucoma.
How to instil eyedrops:
- First things first – wash hands thoroughly.
- Tilt your head back, look up at the ceiling, or lie down on your bed.
- If you are unable to keep your eye open while instilling the eyedrop, firstly wash youe face well, especially around your eyes, then lie on your back on your bed, drop one drop in the corner of your eye next to your eye. Open your eye and blink. The drop will go into your eye.
- Pull your lower lid away from your eye to form a "pocket" by either (1) pulling your lower lid down with your index finger or (2) pinching the lower lid with your thumb and index finger and pulling out.
- Hold the bottle upside-down with the other hand, and let a drop fall into the "pocket." Don't let the tip of the bottle touch your eye or eyelid.
- Close your eyes (don't blink) and apply light pressure to the point where your lids meet your nose. Hold for two to three minutes.
- Before you open your eyes, wipe the unabsorbed drops and tears from the closed lids with a tissue.
- If you are taking more than one type of eye medication at the same time, wait three to five minutes before using the second drops.
Safety Tips regarding Eyedrops:
- Read and observe package instruction and warnings.
- Never keep cyanoacrylate glue (blitz stick, superglue) in your medicine cabinet. It is often mistaken for eye ointment with devastating consequences.
- Always check the expiry date on the eyedrop bottle, and discard if expired.
- Don't ever share eye drops with another person, or use drops prescribed for another person, even if you have the same symptoms.
- Remove your contact lenses before using an eye drop that isn't specifically intended for use with contact lenses.
- If you have any unusual or uncomfortable symptoms while using eye drops, contact your eye care professional immediately.
- If the drops you are using don't provide relief from the symptoms you are having, contact your eye care practitioner.
You invest a lot of time in finding the right pair of spectacles. You look for the right frame shape, in a pattern or color that perfectly expresses you. You patiently wait for the lenses to be fitted and for that call telling you that your new eyeglasses are ready for collection.
Caring for your spectacles will prolong the life of your spectacles and keep them in perfect condition.
Some basic caring tips for your spectacles:
- Rinse - Always rinse your spectacles off with water before wiping or cleaning them. Even tiny particles of dust or dirt can settle on your lens, and if you wipe those around on a dry lens, it can be abrasive.
- Spray Carefully - If you're going to use a chemical, use sprays or cleansers that are specifically made to clean spectacle lenses. Never use household cleaners, because these chemicals contain ammonia, which will actually tear off the any coating that is on the lens.
- Air Dry - If you can, allow your spectacles to air dry. This is another great way to keep any materials from getting on to your lens. If you can't set them down to air dry, wipe them down with a soft, clean, lint-free cloth.
- Use the Right Cloth - Never use paper towels, tissue, or napkins to dry your lenses. All of these materials, regardless of how soft they are on your skin, have a textured surface and can easily scratch your lenses. Also, refrain from using the tail of your shirt. If the clothing is not 100% cotton, the fibres in the fabric can scratch the lens over time. The clothing can also have dirt on it, which means the residue ends up transferred to your lenses.
- Grip Firmly - Hold your frames by gripping the piece that crosses the bridge of the nose. This will keep you from accidently bending the frame while you clean. Bent spectacles can negatively affect the way you see out of your specs. Plus, if your frames are bent out of shape, they're more likely to feel uncomfortable.
- Store Properly - Store your spectacles when you're not wearing them. This isn't just a great way to keep dust and dirt away from your lenses, but it also protects your specs from getting scratched, bent or broken.
- If you don't want a big, bulky case, sleeker ones are available. Microfiber pouches are also great to keep at your office desk or on your night stand for specs you don't necessarily wear all the time, like reading glasses.
- Place Carefully - Don't lay your specs lens down. This is just asking for scratched lenses.
- Wash Often - Washing your specs at least once a day will keep your lenses in their optimal state. And prevent scratches and lens damage.
90% of the critical decisions made by drivers are based on sight. If driving is important for your job or even getting to and from work, then make sure a vision problem isn’t holding you back. If you do have a vision problem, an optometrist can most often help you reach the vision standards necessary for safe driving.
What can you do?
- Wear sunglasses to reduce glare while driving.
- Pull over and take a break when you need to. This is the only way to properly overcome eye fatigue.
- Allow your eyes time to adjust to new spectacles if prescribed for driving.
- If you experience dry eyes, an optometrist can recommend lubricating eye drops to improve comfort. Up to 48% of office workers suffer from computer-related eye fatigue and this rate appears to be increasing. Excessive computer use can cause eye strain and reduce productivity.
- Take regular two-minute breaks from close computer work by blinking and focusing on something in the distance.
- Ensure the lighting in your office is even and without glare.
- Adjust your computer monitor for optimum comfort. In general, the top of the screen should be at or just above eye level.
- Have a regular eye exam.