When you were in preschool, you might remember singing songs that helped you identify the 5 basic types of human senses, including; touch, taste, vision, sound and smell. You were also taught that they were very important. Assuredly, if you lack one or more of those senses, living becomes a little more difficult. Eyesight, in particular, plays a very important role in the capturing and processing of information, making it basically indispensable. Various factors (natural or artificial), however, could mess up your vision and leave you totally hopeless. Thankfully, modern science has provided various ways to improve your eyesight; we are going to look at some of these in detail below.
What are some of the causes of poor vision?
As mentioned earlier, you could be experiencing poor vision because of a variety of causes. The main culprits include:
- Aging - still the primary cause of poor vision
- Eye/ Brain trauma
- Medical conditions e.g. Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Cataracts etc.
- Eye Strain
Those are just but a few causes, the list is quite long. Other than knowing what causes poor vision, you should also familiarize yourself with the different types of eye problems that are most common:
- Nearsightedness (Myopia)
- Farsightedness (Hyperopia)
- Astigmatism - constant blurred vision regardless of distance
- Color blindness - inability to distinguish shades of color
- Night blindness - difficulty of seeing objects in low light and
- Retinal detachment - constant flashing of lights and feeling of dark spots in your eye
Sadly, sometimes you may not even notice that you have poor eyesight until you're involved in an accident. Therefore, regular check-ups are essential just to be safe. If you experience symptoms such as: constant light flashes, blurred vision, sensitivity to bright light, a feeling of a blinding object in your eye that won't flush out, stinging pain in your eyes, redness of your eyes or any form of a discharge, seek medical attention immediately.
How do you deal with poor eyesight?
If you feel that your vision is not what it's supposed to be or experience the above listed symptoms, take immediate action. There are 4 essential steps you need to follow to improve your eyesight.
1.) Consult your doctor
Without doubt, this should be your first step. An ophthalmologist would be your best bet since they specialize on diseases of the eye. If you don't have one, ask your doctor or acquaintances for a recommendation.
The ophthalmologist will carry out a diagnosis to determine what is affecting your vision. Depending on the cause and degree of damage, he could recommend different treatments including: Laser Eye Surgery (LES), wearing of glasses/contact lenses or even a prescription of some drugs and therapy. So, don't worry, you'll get the procedure that suits you.
Laser Eye Surgery (LES), in particular, mainly focuses on correcting your cornea. The cornea is a thin transparent covering of the eye that refracts light to ensure you receive clear images. When damaged, you may suffer from blurred vision, myopia or hyperopia. In such cases, laser surgery is highly recommended. LES comes in 4 different types, including; LASIK (the most common one), PRK, LASIK and Epi-LASIK. Each procedure is designed for a specific type of person and has its own set of advantages and challenges, so consult your doctor to gain more information before choosing one.
Glasses and contact lenses may not be as effective as LES but they are also very helpful, especially if your eye problem is light-associated. In some cases, contact lenses are even prescribed after LES to ensure you have 20/20 vision.
2.) Exercise the eyes
If the eye damage is not that serious or you're in the recovery process, practicing some eye-exercises could come in very handy in improving your vision. The eyes are also muscular organs, meaning any form of exercise ensures that they stay healthy.
Before beginning the exercises, warm your eyes by placing rubbed palms on them for like 5-6 seconds. Do this about 4 times. Once your eyes are warm enough, look up and roll them clockwise and counterclockwise 10 times each. This not only strengthens the muscles surrounding the eye, it also makes them more flexible.
After you're done with that, it's now time to sharpen your focus. Hold a pen at least 35 centimeters from you and focus both eyes on it. Now slowly move it closer until its about 15 centimeters away. After 5 seconds, move it back to its original position. Do this about 10 times. If your focus isn't good, you may see multiple images or feel dazed after a while. Regularly doing this after undergoing treatment is sure to help.
The other facial parts that need equal attention are your temples. Use your thumb-knuckles to circularly massage them at least 20 times clockwise and counterclockwise. Wax on, wax off (you get the drill). This process should also be repeated on the nose bridge and the forehead. It helps relax the facial muscles.
After completing all exercises, close your eyes for about 5 minutes and relax. For best results, do this early in the mornings and late evenings before going to bed, or whenever your eyes are feeling fatigued. Do these exercises daily and always ensure your hands are clean to prevent infection. You'll see a big difference within a month. Even if your eyes are fine, these exercises ensure they remain that way.
3.) Improve your diet
It's hard to think of a situation concerning good health that doesn't involve a good diet. Even when it comes to your eyes, what you eat greatly affects the quality of your vision.
Foods rich in beta-carotene are also a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for good vision. Fruits and vegetables are the best examples. Eating carrots, kale and apricots, just but to mention a few, will go a long way in improving your eyesight.
In addition to that, other vitamins and nutrients such Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Copper, Zinc, Lutein, Taurine and Zeaxanthin should also be properly supplemented in your diet. This goes without mentioning the Omega 3 fatty acids. Apart from keeping your heart healthy, they also nourish your retinas to stop eyesight deterioration with age.
It gets even better if all these are complemented by good hydration. By now, you must know that water is good for you. However, you may not know it's what prevents your eyes from drying up and eventually causing blurry vision; now you know.
All in all, make a point to change your diet for the better.
4.) Make a lifestyle change
If you're used to harmful habits like smoking, the chances of improving your eyesight are close to none. Smoking has been identified to cause macular (the pigmentation of the retina) degeneration over time, which is a major cause of cataracts. Learning how to stop such a habit is key to improving your eyesight.
If you're an outdoors type of person, it's good to protect your eyes from the sun's UV rays by wearing UVA sunglasses. Just like smoking, excessive exposure to harmful UV radiation has also been shown to eventually result in cataracts.
Additionally, learn to get enough rest and sleep. It is understandable to be tempted to stay awake for many hours, especially at times you have too much workload from school or work. However, know that eyestrain fatigues your eye muscles, which could gradually have a negative effect on your vision. Treat yourself to regular breaks while studying or working and sleep for at least 7-8 hours a day to promote tissue regeneration in the eyes.
Last but not least, reduce your stress levels. When you're stressed, much strain is put on your eyes, which could gradually affect the underlying muscles. Make relaxation a habit and always strive to be more positive to gradually improve your vision.
The better the lifestyle, the better the vision.
Conclusively, you should never underestimate the importance of your eyes. Not only do they help you appreciate nature's beauty, they also play an important role in all of your daily activities. If you feel that they are hurting in any way, don't hesitate to seek medical assistance. So, make the wise decision now. Follow these simple steps and see your vision gradually improve with time.