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Eye Health: Balanced diet is very crucial




Dr. Adeola Onakoya is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). She told GERALDINE AKUTU about the importance of caring for the eye and maintaining good eye healthWhat is the importance of eye care?

Eye care is of vital importance in any society, spanning all age groups— both the young and elderly. The Bible says: “the eye is the light of the body” and this light runs a risk of being extinguished, when it goes bad, hence, the importance of eye care. The eye also serves as the window to the body. Many diseases in the body manifest in the eyes, either internally or externally. So, our eyes play a significant role in our lives, hence the need to guard them jealously. Eye diseases present differently. Some readily get attention, presenting with redness, eye ache or loss of vision. Others, however, are “Silent blinders” of which you may not be aware at early stages, until they get to the advanced stage, when vision is irreversibly lost.

A ready example is glaucoma. This is a disease of the nerve of the eye that is asymptomatic, but results in irreversible blindness. A large number of individuals suffering from the disease discovered it at the late stage after visual loss. It can only be detected at the early stage, if you submit yourself for a regular eye examination.

How often should one go for eye examination?
A larger percentage of blinding diseases occur with advanced age. It is, therefore, advised that everyone from 40 years and above should regularly undergo a two-yearly eye examination. For those with family history of blindness, a yearly examination is advised, to prevent avoidable blindness.

What causes eye pressure and how can it be stopped?
Eye pressure is simply the pressure exerted on the eye wall by the clear water-like fluid produced in the eye. This fluid is a by-product of blood, which provides nutrients to the structures inside the eye. Once these nutrients are supplied, they egress out of the eye. The process of drainage may, however, not match the rate of production and, therefore, leads to an accumulation inside the eye, exerting excess pressure on the delicate inner structure, which may be destroyed leading to loss of vision. The obstruction to the drainage might simply be due to ageing, with increased resistance to drainage. Sometimes it’s just a failure of pump mechanism or genetics. The size of the eyes also plays a big role, with smaller eyes at higher risk of high pressure because of crowding effects.

The damage caused by the elevated eye pressure to the nerve is what is manifested in glaucoma. However, there are other types of glaucoma, where the pressure is at normal range. The problem in this group is poor blood supply to the vital structures at the back of the eye. Another cause of discomfort is when the eyes are tired and requires that the power of the eye be augmented with glasses. Glaucoma can be treated with eye drops, eye vitamin, or surgical operations and Laser surgery.

What lifestyle changes should be followed to maintain good eye health and eyesight?
Lifestyle changes in our diet are very vital for good eye health. Eat more of the green vegetables, fruits and exercise.

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