One of the most beautiful gifts given by God to the human race is eye sight. In our busy lives we are usually sitting in front of the computer the whole day at work and by the time its evening our eyes start to feel tired or sometimes there is a burning sensation in them. But we tend to ignore it. Our eyes get stressed out too and we must take care of them.

Today on the show I had the pleasure of talking to Mahel shah who is an experienced optometrist.

A lot of my friends always brag about having perfect eyesight and I was always the girl wearing glasses to school. I always wanted to know what normal or perfect vision is and today that was my first question to Mehal. He said that 6/6 vision is the size of the letters that a person reads from a distance of 6 meters. But that is not perfect vision; many people can read even better than that. He also described in short the different factors that contribute to having normal vision and 6/6 is just one of them.

Mehal said that people need to get their eyes examined every year or every 18 months. But depending on the family history, if you wear contact lenses or if you have any previous problems then the optometrist may tell you to get check-ups more frequently.

We also spoke about contact lenses, he said that initially when a person starts to use lenses it really hurts and over time the eyes start becoming de sensitised and then wearing the lenses is more comfortable. There are many types of contact lenses and some can also be worn overnight and slept in. But it’s best to ask the optometrist if you can or cannot wear the lenses overnight.

Sometimes people are unable to blink very much and because of that they get dry eyes. Mehal said that blinking is a very interesting thing and the normal blink rate is about 12 times a minute but when we sit in front of the computer and do any concentrated reading or any concentrated work the blink rate reduces quiet significantly and because of that people might get dry eyes. The optometrist or pharmacist can suggest some drops to help with the dryness. But if people are unable to bink even when not doing concentrated work, that is in normal day to day life then Mehal said that consciously blinking every 5 to 10 seconds and doing that for a prolonged period might help in improving the blink rate. It might seem a funny thing to do but it’s the only thing that will help in increasing the blinking rate and in turn help reduce the dryness too.

He said the cataract is the aging of the lenses inside your eyes. There are lot of different things that can increase the aging of the lenses and the onset of the cataract and one of those things is general health so someone suffering from diabetes might get cataract earlier than one would otherwise. But the things that we can control to help prevent cataract is the exposure to UV. He said wearing sunglasses is very important and he also mentioned that sunlight does not always mean UV so there are days when there is not much sunlight but still there is a lot of UV outside. If you wear glasses then you should get clear filters that actually block all the UV out or proper UV protection sunglasses.

Mehal also told me about eye exercises. He said that people who are working usually spend 8 or 10 hours in front of the computer screens and it’s important to give eyes a bit of rest every 25 or 30 minutes by either looking away from the screen or looking out of the window for a bit. It stops your eyes from getting tired. He said that other general eye exercises are moving the eyes in all directions occasionally and there are many eye exercises for children who suffer from some eye problems and they help in strengthening the eye muscles.

We also spoke about glaucoma. Mehal said that glaucoma is the damage of the nerve fibres at the back of your eyes. A lot of people feel that glaucoma is having high pressures in the eye but that is actually a risk factor in glaucoma. It affects the peripheral field first as compared to the central field of vision. When someone starts getting glaucoma they may notice that everything in the central vision is clear but the vision on the edges is blurred. He said that one eye overlaps the other and if something is wrong with one eye then more often than not it will be masked by the other one. He said that the damage of the nerve fibres is irreversible and the treatment for glaucoma is usually preventative. That’s why it’s important to get the eyes tested on a regular basis.

We also spoke about floaters in the eye, Mehal said that floaters are some shapes that people see floating in their vision. They can be of different shapes and size. Generally floaters themselves don’t cause any harm but it’s more the eye condition that causes the floaters that has to be monitored and dealt with. If the floaters are increasing in number or in size them Mehal said that it’s important to go and see the consultant and get it checked.

Mehal gave the following tips for eye care.

  • Drink lots of water
  • Have a good healthy diet
  • Protect yourself in sunlight – wear good sunglasses with good UV filters and proper coverage

 If people are spending too much time in front of the computer it’s important to take precautions like

  • Working in a good environment
  • Taking frequent breaks – look out of the window, take a walk
  • Avoid too much AC or Dry Heat

Mehal said that dim light causes a lot of tiredness in the eyes. So if you are doing some reading or even when working on the computer make sure that you do it in good background illumination because it reduces the stress and strain on your eyes. I had a great time talking to Mehal and learning about different eye conditions and also about eye care.