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Don’t read while lying down

Some dos and don’ts to prevent damage to your eyes.

education Updated: Mar 26, 2013 15:27 IST
Sanjay Dhawan

Reading a lot during exam can badly affect your eyes. When the eyes are working hard for a very long period, the strain may have different effects including sore eyeballs, headache, back or neck ache, drooping eyelids and blurred vision. Eyes get fatigued because you often don’t blink enough when focusing on a single object. You may also experience uncomfortable dryness in the eyes and prolonged eye strain can worsen it. So, what should you do? Follow these tips

* Don’t read while lying flat on the floor as many students love to do. It is bad to read when the page is viewed from a sharp angle and the body is in a position of strain.

* Don’t read or work in your own shadow or in bright sunshine.

* Don’t rub your eyes when they feel tired and irritable while reading. Rubbing harms the delicate membrane of the eyeball and eyelids.

* Don’t rub your eyes with dirty, unwashed hands. This only serves to spread germs and cause eye problems.

* Wearing heavy spectacle frames can add stress to the eyes and nasal cavities. Don’t wear weighty frames.

* Rest your eyes when you are reading or working for a long spell. Half an hour doing nothing in a dark room will do you a world of good.

* After reading continuously for an hour, close your eyes which will help relieve muscular tension.

* Wash your hands thoroughly with soap, before touching your eyes, eyelashes, or eyelids.

* Choose light frames for your glasses because they are more comfortable.

* Getting enough sleep of eight hours will help your eyes recover from a long day’s work. Seven to eight hours of sleep is great. Make sure to wash your eyes with clean water every night and morning when you wake up. This will keep infections at bay.

* Eat eye-friendly foods. You’ve probably heard that carrots and vitamin A are good for your eyes. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as kangkong, broccoli, camote tops (talbos) and spinach, is important. The yellow variety of watermelon contains lutein, which is good for the eyes. Research has also shown that eating fish high in omega-3 fatty acids is helpful, too.

* To rest eyes, cup them with your hands for a few minutes. Do an eye exercise: hold one finger around eight inches in front of you and another finger at arm’s length. Then focus alternately on the near finger and then the far finger. Do this activity for 20 times to exercise the eye muscles.

* If your eyesight is weak, use contact lenses. Make sure your hands are clean before putting them on and taking them off. Follow disinfection procedures.

The author is additional director and head, department of ophthalmology, Fortis Healthcare