Tuesday, March 10, 2020

How Maintaining Good Eyesight Can Promote Positive Mental Health

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Eyesight
Good Eyesight Can Promote Positive Mental Health


Good Eyesight Can Promote Positive Mental Health

Good eyesight is something that everybody should have the privilege of, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. A lot of us take our clear vision for granted until our sight starts to deteriorate.
Our eyes capture one million pulse signals per millisecond and send them to our brain, allowing us to see the world in the way we do.
However, it’s estimated that more than 4.2 million Americans have some kind of visual impairment, so eye-care is something that we should all be conscious of.


Deteriorating vision is linked with not only other physical health issues but can be linked with mental health issues too.
More than a third of people with visual impairments suffer from depression, and this isn’t just a coincidence.

How Do I Keep My Eyes Healthy?

Good eyesight can help you perform well in most aspects of your life, whether it be home, work or relationships.
Taking care of your eyes should be a priority. 80% of what we perceive in the world comes through our sense of sight, and by taking good care of our eyes, we lower the chances of vision loss and eye diseases.

Regular Eye Tests

Usually, if there isn’t a problem, we won’t do anything about it. With eyes, we should get them checked regularly, even if they feel fine.


Ophthalmologist
Get your eyes checked at least once every two years
You should get your eyes checked by a professional at least once every two years for the average person, and even more frequently if you have any pre-existing eye conditions.
A good optician will spot any eye problems even if you haven’t noticed any symptoms or changes yourself, and with a lot of eye problems, catching it early is key.

Diet

Our diet can affect pretty much all aspects of our lives, including our vision. A lack of certain vitamins and antioxidants can harm the macula (the central part of the retina).
To keep the macula healthy, ensure your diet is full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3.
Be wary of high consumption of fatty foods, as it can cause deposits that can constrict the flow of blood in the arteries, which can be very problematic with eyes as the blood vessels are tiny.

Hygiene

Before touching your eye, make sure your hands are clean. It’s really easy to spread bacteria to your eye, especially if you wear contact lenses.


Contacts
Before touching your eye, make sure your hands are clean.

Some germs and bacteria can cause eye infections like conjunctivitis, which can cause blindness in extreme cases.

Blue Light

In 2020, almost everybody has and uses mobile phones, laptops, computers, televisions, and tablets. In fact, the average American spends more than 11 hours per day staring at screens.
These screens emit blue light, and too much blue light exposure can lead to macular degeneration.
This is why you should protect your eyes from this blue light. Here are some tips:

  • Keep blinking!
  • Take a break from your screen every 20 minutes or so
  • Keep the screen around 20 inches away from your eyes
  • Adjust the lighting - a lot of modern smartphones have a “night mode” option
  • Use eye drops to keep your eyes lubricated
  • Purchase anti-blue light glasses - you can get them for under $5

Can Eyesight Affect my Mental Health?

Our eyes are arguably one of our most important organs. Our optic nerves connect our eyes to our brain, so it’s important to take care of them both.
Keeping your eyes healthy is hugely important in keeping your brain healthy. If we can see well, we can work better, play better, drive better, and even learn better. Overall, good eyesight can lead to a higher quality of life.
Blindness can restrict how we perform in all areas of our life. Approximately 75% of people with visual impairments require assistance with day-to-day tasks, from cooking to crossing the road.
It has been proven that the sudden loss of eyesight has been linked with the following mental health issues:
  • - Depression
  • - Anxiety
  • - Trauma
  • - PTSD
  • - Phobias
  • - Suicidal thoughts
A person with blindness may also feel that they’ve lost some social standing due to the unspoken stigma surrounding blindness.
80% of blind women noted a loss of authority within their households, and 50% of blind people in third world countries report a loss of social standing.

Taking care of our eyes can greatly reduce the risk of experiencing mental health issues. We should take care of our eyes the same way we take care of our hearts and our brain.
If you believe you are experiencing any issues or changes regarding your eyesight, book an appointment with your optician or ophthalmologist as soon as possible.
If you’re experiencing any mental health issues, it’s best to contact your doctor or mental health professional. If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911.



Author: David Allamby is the founder and Medical Director of Focus Clinics, a laser eye surgery based in London. A passionate Ophthalmologist, he is one of a limited number of UK surgeons who work in laser refractive surgery full-time.


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