As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on this country, citizens are being advised to keep their eyes healthy, as healthy eyes are a vital part of one’s wellbeing.
Dr Ronnie Bhola of the Trinidad Eye Hospital, in keeping with May as Healthy Vision Awareness month, took the opportunity to share with Guardian Media some important reminders to keep one’s eyes healthy, during this pandemic.
“Most headlines these days are filled with tips on how to protect us from contracting the COVID-19 virus. We must not forget, however, that keeping our eyes healthy is still a vital part of our wellbeing,” Dr Bhola said.
“Do not ignore symptoms like blurry vision or sudden loss of sight. If you have a sudden loss of vision or suffer trauma to your eyes from a blow, you should visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible, since the effectiveness of treatment used for restoring vision is sometimes based on how quickly you can be seen by a doctor,” he added.
Bhola warns that one should never touch one’s eyes with dirty hands.
“Wash your hands. Never touch your eyes with dirty hands. Always wash your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses and ensure that you sanitize or disinfect contact lenses and store them as instructed,” Dr Bhola advised.
“Rest your eyes,” he recommends. “So many of us are working from home. When spending a lot of time looking at screens on your phone, computer or even television, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes become fatigued. To help reduce eyestrain, take frequent breaks, blink more often and try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, gaze at an object about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds,” he added.
Dr Bhola also advised that smoking is bad for your eyes as well, explaining: “Quit smoking—or even better—never start. Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has found that smokers are three to four times more likely to develop Age Related Macular Degeneration, twice as likely to develop Dry Eye Syndrome, and three times as likely to develop cataracts than non-smokers.”
“Complications of diabetes are made worse by smoking and as such, will increase the risk of glaucoma and optic nerve damage, both of which can lead to blindness. These are stressful times; however, it truly is best to resist the urge to smoke,” he added.
Dr Bhola also reminds everyone to eat right and maintain a healthy weight.
“Carrots are not the only vegetable good for your eyes. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy vegetables, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna, are recommended for healthy eyes,” he points out.
Aware that many eye clinics are closed due to the current lockdown,Dr Bhola is offering emergency services and safe, critical follow up care. Anyone interested can WhatsApp Bhola on 686-8482, or to get prompt assistance if needed, can call 235 4834.
For more information on caring for your eyes, visit his website at www.trinidadeyehospital.org or call 235 4834.