Different parts of the eye and brain are responsible for the things that we see in our daily life. These parts include our retina, lens and optic nerve. When light passes through the eye lens and hit the retina, special cells called photoreceptors turn the light into electrical signals. These electrical signals will travel to the brain through our optic nerve and our brain will turn these electrical signals to images that we see every day.
Eye related conditions
Many habits and the modern life style today are taking a heavy toll on the general health of the eyes. Daily uses of electrical appliances and digital gadgets for work and entertainment especially for long hours such as televisions, computers and mobile phones will badly affect the well being of our eyes. We can see that today a large section of children are wearing glasses, and one of the contributors to this situation might be the prolonged usage of mobile devices and digital screens such as laptops, tablets and television watching. Without sufficient rest and blinking, our eyes will become dry and tired, and this will affect our eye health.
There are many conditions that will affect our vision and these conditions normally disrupt the light that passes from our eyes to the brain. Some of the conditions are as below:
- Refractive errors. Refractive errors are the most common type of vision problem. It includes near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. These conditions will make it hard for us to see clearly as the light cannot focus correctly on our retina. Blurry vision is very common and people having refractive errors will also experience double vision, hazy vision and eye strain if they try to focus on the image.
- Cataract. Cataracts can happen at any age but are more common in older people as it is caused by normal changes in our eyes as we gets older. The clouding of the eye lens will make the vision blur, hazy and less colourful. Cataracts can affect one or both eyes and surgery can be performed to correct vision problems caused by cataracts.
- Diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar will lead to a progressive damage to the blood vessel on the retina and it usually affects both eyes. Over time, diabetic retinopathy will cause vision loss and blindness. Diabetic patients are at high risk of developing diabetic retinopathy especially those with uncontrolled blood sugar.
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). As the name suggest, this condition normally occur when we age. AMD will cause the lost of central vision as it affects the macula, which is the central part of the retina that allows our eyes to see the fine details. People suffering from AMD will have trouble carrying out daily activities because it will be harder for them to see faces, read, cook, drive and do close-up work.
- Glaucoma. Glaucoma is a group of eye disease that destroys our optic nerves. It can lead to vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma is usually caused by high eye pressure. Currently there is no cure for this condition but early treatment may slow the progression and stop the damages. People with glaucoma will experience a gradual loss of vision that most of them will not notice during the early stage as it happens slowly.
How to take care of eye health
Eyes are very delicate organ in our body and they need special care. We rely heavily on our vision for many movements that we perform such as personal interaction and carrying out daily tasks. It even affects our sleep schedule as our sleep schedules are affected by the light we see during the day.
There are many things that we can do to take good care of our visual health and make sure we are seeing our best. The most important one will be to eat a balance diet that contains sufficient eye health nutrition. Adding sufficient antioxidants, vitamins and minerals will improve our overall eye health.
Certain types of food, fruits and nuts are good for our eyes, plus some eye health supplements. Those that contain these vitamins and minerals will help to improve our eye health nutrition:
- Lutein and Zeaxanthin can help to protect our eyes from harmful ultra violet rays in the sunlight. You can get Lutein and Zeaxanthin from green leafy vegetables and other colourful fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, corn and persimmons.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps to protect your eyes from damages caused by free radicals. Collagen production also requires Vitamin C, which is used to provide structure of your eyes. Vitamin C can be found in citrus and tropical fruits as well as bell peppers, tomato and broccoli.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are important for proper visual development and retinal function. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to improve the retinal cellular response to ischemic, oxidative, and inflammatory damages. Omega -3 fatty acids can be obtained from several sources including salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, nuts and seeds.
- Vitamin A is essential in maintaining our photoreceptors, which are our eyes’ light sensing cells. Deficiency in Vitamin A will cause night blindness and other serious conditions. Vitamin A can be obtained from animal sources such as liver, egg yolks and dairy products which has the richest source of Vitamin A.
- Zinc is also essential for eye health. Zinc helps Vitamin A to produce melanin, which is a pigment that protects our eyes. Deficiency in Zinc may cause cloudy cataracts and poor night vision. Red meat, oysters and shellfish contain Zinc that we can obtain from dietary source.
Besides taking eye health nutrients, we also need to take good care of our eyes by getting regular eye examinations, wearing sunglasses during outdoors, managing our digital screen time and maintaining a healthy sugar level.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, June 3). Common eye disorders and diseases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 10, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/index.html#:~:text=The%20leading%20causes%20of%20blindness,disorders%20include%20amblyopia%20and%20strabismus.
- Diet and Nutrition. AOA.org. (n.d.). Retrieved May 9, 2022, from https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/caring-for-your-eyes/diet-and-nutrition?sso=y