CARING FOR YOUR EYES
by Dr. Martin M. Pourkesali DO, FAOCO
SOME OLD WIVES’ TALES IN OPHTHALMOLOGY
It is perhaps worth trying to dispel some misconceptions about eyes which are surprisingly common.
- Normal eyes are not damaged by: Reading in bright or poor light, Reading too close or too far away, wearing wrong glasses, sunglasses, not wearing glasses, using one eye alone, “crossing eyes” – voluntarily converging them, watching too much television ( which only risks damaging the brain).
- Normal eyes are not helped by: bathing with lotions, Exercises, even when focus for near is worse with age, Eating carrots.
- Headache is not caused by: Glaucoma of the common chronic type, Reading with normal eyes, Reading for extended periods of time.
- A cataract is not a film over the eye that can be peeled off. It is the opacification of the lens internally and has to be removed surgically.
- Eyes are not removed from their socket for full examination, nor for eye surgery.
- Difficulty reading in later years is due to changes in lens protein and not to weakness of the eye muscles.
The popular idea of a cataract is that it is a “film” which “grows over” the eye. In fact, a cataract is any opacity in the normally clear protein of the lens that is inside the eye and lies behind the iris. The problem can be likened to white of egg, when fresh it is clear protein, but when damaged (by heat for instance) it becomes progressively more opaque. Worldwide, cataract is the most common cause of poor vision and estimated to have blinded 20 million people who do not have access to surgery.
There are few well-defined causes of cataract though many factors contribute. Age is the most important cause followed by dehydration particularly in hot climate. Other contributing causes to different degrees are prolonged light induced damage, ionizing radiation, long term systemic corticosteroids and some genetic and metabolic disorders like diabetes. Trauma to the eye or inflammation inside the eye may hasten cataract formation.
The most common complaint with cataract is blurring or clouding of vision. Patients say they are looking through a fog. Some times their symptoms are worsened in bright or dim light depending on the form of cataract they are forming. There are no known preventive measures or medical treatments for cataracts. With modern surgical techniques it is not necessary to wait for a cataract to “ripen” as surgery may be done at any stage without undue risk.
Eye Care by Dr. Pourkesali of Palm Coast Eye Physicians