Today’s digital era has caused us to overstrain and overuse our eyes. The major factor today for eye strain is long screen hours. We spend hours looking into various screens that cause eye fatigue and dryness. Considering the digital era is here to stay, how do you take better care of your eyes and prevent these issues in spite of that.

On a special edition on World Sight Day, Cynthia Koh talks to Guest speaker and Lasik and Cataract surgeon Dr. Daphne Han to find out how you can take better care of your eyes using LENICC eyewear and Santen eye drops. We have summed highlights of eyecare according to experts.

According to Dr. Han, our eyes start giving us problems as we age. Cataract, dry eyes, eye strain, and myopia are some of the issues associated with eyes. Eyes are just like our skin and just like how we take extra care of our aging skin, we need to do the same for our eyes. Eyecare is infact more critical than skincare.

Wearing sunglasses to protect eyes from the UV rays of the sun is highly recommended. Just like the UV rays, LED, blue light from gadgets also has short wavelengths and is harmful to the eyes.

Too much blue light affects your circadian rhythm, which is your sleeping pattern. It stimulates you like light coffee and people who are constantly on gadgets are generally more awake.

The quality of the lenses used in the blue light blocking glasses determines the extent of protection they provide. It is a good idea to use them to protect the eyes from the harmful blue light that causes eye fatigue and dry eyes.

Dr. Han does not really promote blue lens blocking glasses however shares that the most popular lens they use to replace the original lens during cataract surgery is the blue lens.

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Eyecare Singapore

Cynthia asks Dr. Han to elaborate on the causes and prevention of dry eyes as this is a rising complaint amongst people of all ages. Here’s what she had to say,

Causes of Dry Eyes

Dr. Han explains that dry eyes are a result of an uneven supply of tears that protect our eyes. Our tears are composed of 3 layers. The first one is the oily layer, the second the watery layer and the 3rd layer is the sticky layer or mucus.

Tears serve as a barrier to protect our eyes. When the tear layers start evaporating at a faster rate than they should, it leads to dryness in the eyes. Dryness is also caused due to dehydration and lack of nutrients in your diet, which in turn reduces the production of tears.

If you spend too much time in air conditioning or especially with the airflow in the direction of your eyes, your eyes will soon become dry.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes

People with dry eyes not only suffer from dryness in the eyes but also other associated symptoms. Dry Eyes make you blink more than usual, Your vision might fluctuate or get blurred at times, everything might seem brighter and the glare of the brightness might hurt the eyes. One of the most common symptoms is irritation in the eyes or a sharp pain that reduces with a gentle eye massage.

Sometimes dry eyes can have more pronounced symptoms like sharp needle-like pain, watery eyes which are uncomfortable with air coming at them. You might even have trouble wearing contact lenses. The eyes seem tired and turn red.

How To Prevent Dry Eyes

If you feel your eyes drying up while using a screen or doing detailed work, it is because you are staring for too long without blinking. Controlling your screen time to 20-30 minutes at a time and taking a break away from the screen for 20 seconds gives a break to the eyes. This 20-20-20 exercise helps in controlling dry eyes. Blinking also serves as a stimulant for promoting tear secretion.

Another important point made by Dr. Han was not to watch screens in the dark as the dark background makes the pupils open up more than usual for more light making the structure of the eyeball undergo a change that is not the natural shape of the eyes and can lead to an eye disorder called Glycoma.

She suggests certain dietary changes and supplements that can prevent the problem of dry eyes. The oily tear layer protects the watery layer from evaporating so it’s very important to make sure to get enough oil in your diet to constantly replenish this layer. Research shows that healthy oil like Olive oil, the fish oil in Omega -3 Fatty Acids, colorful vegetables, and blueberries help to keep this layer healthy.

Some other questions were asked by viewers which we have summed up for you below.

How to Prevent Myopia or Shortsightedness

If you already have myopia/ weak eyes, make sure to wear glasses or contact lenses with the right power as this will prevent the power from increasing. Lasik surgery is another option but possible only with certain kinds of power. You can consult an Ophthalmologist for the same.

Another major cause of myopia is frequent rubbing of your eyes. This is definitely something that can be consciously controlled.

Correct Usage of Eye-Drops

Dr. Han recommends using Cationorm Eye-drops that come in two forms, for single-use and multiple uses. Choose the quantity that works well for you. Always keep the eye drops away from the sun and in a cool dry place. Also, dispose of the bottle after 3 months of opening. What is also important is not to share the bottle with anyone else and not to touch the tip of the bottle with your hands or eyes.

Does Size of Screen Matter

Yes, the size and the angle of the screen do matter. It is beneficial to watch a bigger screen as it leads to less strain in the eyes as compared to a smaller screen. The angle at which you are watching is another contributing factor to eye strain. If your screen is higher than the eye-level then constantly looking up opens and exposes your eyes more, leading to dryness and evaporation of tears.

What is Eye Twitching

Eye twitching usually happens due to overstimulation of the nerves caused due to certain factors like excess caffeine or anxiety. Factors like allergies and dryness also lead to eye twitching.

What are Floaters and Spots

Sometimes floaters or spots appear in front of our eyes and are more visible on a lighter background. This usually happens because of condensation in the jelly part of the eyeball and can also be caused due to aging.

If floaters suddenly start appearing in front of your eyes then it’s best to get your eyes thoroughly examined to rule out a detachment of the retina. If this is the cause, then it needs to be immediately treated otherwise it can lead to blindness.

Myopia in Children

Myopia to a great extent is hereditary. Dr Han refers to myopia in children as being a Sunumai that has hit this generation due to increased screen time. Children should be encouraged to play outdoors and their screen time should be reduced considerably.

The 20-20-20 rule should be enforced by parents and eye drops to control myopia should be used to prevent it from increasing.

Hope these expert recommendations help you take better care of your eyes. And please do make a conscious effort to reduce your screen time as that will help you prevent a lot of eye problems.

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Author: Swati Gauba

Swati regularly indulges in retail therapy, online. She is an avid traveler. She has a very curious mind and a terrific sense of team and loyalty. She's a constant learner and loves to stay updated in a fast changing space.