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Balanced Bites For Eye Health

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With summer upon us, and bright sunny days, it is important for us to take care of our eye health.

Structure and Function of The Eye

The structures and functions of the eyes are complex. Each eye constantly adjusts the amount of light it lets in, focuses on objects near and far, and produces continuous images that are instantly transmitted to the brain.

Most people have eye problems at one time or another. Some are minor and will go away on their own, or are easy to treat at home. Others need a specialist’s care.

Whether your vision isn’t what it used to be, or never was that great, there are things you can do to get your eye health back on track.

Anatomy of the Eye

The structures of the eye include the:

  • Orbit –  is the bony cavity that contains the eyeball, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels.Each orbit is a pear-shaped structure that is formed by several bones.
  • Sclera -The outer covering of the eyeball consists of a relatively tough, white layer called the sclera or (white of the eye.)
  • Conjunctiva –  The sclera is covered by a thin, transparent membrane (conjunctiva), which runs to the edge of the cornea.
  • Cornea – Light enters the eye through the cornea, the clear, curved layer in front of the iris and pupil. It is the protective covering for the front of the eye and also helps focus light on the retina at the back of the eye.
  • Pupil – After passing through the cornea, light travels through the pupil (the black dot in the middle of the eye).
  • Iris – This is the circular, colored area of the eye that surrounds the pupil—controls the amount of light that enters the eye.
  • Lens – Behind the iris sits the lens. By changing its shape, the lens focuses light onto the retina.
  • Retina – This contains the cells that sense light (photoreceptors) and the blood vessels that nourish them. The most sensitive part of the retina is a small area called the macula, which has millions of tightly packed photoreceptors (the type called cones). 
  • Optic Nerve – Each photoreceptor is linked to a nerve fibre. The nerve fibres from the photoreceptors are bundled together to form the optic nerve. The optic disk, the first part of the optic nerve, is at the back of the eye.

How The Eye Works

Eye Conditions and Diseases

See if any of these common problems sound familiar. And always check with a doctor if your symptoms are really bad or don’t clear up within a few days.

Eyestrain

Anyone who reads for hours, works at a computer, or drives long distances knows about this one. It happens when you overuse your eyes. They get tired and need to rest, just like any other part of your body

Red Eyes

Your eyes look bloodshot Why?Their surface is covered in blood vessels that expand when they’re irritated or infected. That gives your eyes the red look.Eyestrain can do it, and so can a late night, a lack of sleep, or allergies. If an injury is the cause, get it checked by your doctor.

Night Blindness

Is it hard to see at night, especially while driving? Is it tough to find your way around in dark places, such as movie theaters?

That sounds like night blindness. It’s a symptom, not a problem in its own right. Nearsightedness, cataracts, keratoconus, and a lack of vitamin A all cause a type of night blindness that doctors can fix.

Lazy Eye

Lazy eye, or amblyopia, happens when one eye doesn’t develop properly. Vision is weaker in that eye, and it tends to move “lazily” around while the other eye stays put. It’s found in infants, children, and adults, and rarely affects both eyes. Treatment needs to be sought immediately for infants and children.

Cross Eyes (Strabismus)

If your eyes aren’t lined up with each other when you look at something, you could have strabismus. You might also hear it called crossed eyes or walleye.

Colourblindness

When you can’t see certain colours, or can’t tell the difference between them (usually reds and greens), you may be colourblind. It happens when the colour cells in your eye (the cone cells) are absent or don’t work.

Presbyopia

This happens when you lose the ability, despite good distance vision, to clearly see close objects and small print.

After age 40 or so, you may have to hold a book or other reading material farther away from your eyes to make it easier to read. Sort of like your arms are too short.

Uveitis

This is a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the uvea. That’s the middle layer of the eye that contains most of the blood vessels.These diseases can destroy eye tissue, and even cause eye loss. People of all ages can have it. Symptoms may go away quickly or last for a long time. Symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Eye pain
  • Eye redness
  • Light sensitivity

Floaters

These are tiny spots or specks that float across your field of vision. Most people notice them in well-lit rooms or outdoors on a bright day.

Floaters are usually normal, but they sometimes can be a sign of a more serious eye problem, like retinal detachment. 

Dry Eyes

This happens when your eyes can’t make enough good-quality tears. You might feel like something is in your eye or like it’s burning. Rarely, in severe cases, extreme dryness can lead to some loss of vision. 

Excess Tearing

It has nothing to do with your feelings. You might be sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes. Try to protect your eyes by shielding them or wearing sunglasses (go for wraparound frames — they block more wind than other types)

Cataracts

These are cloudy areas that develop in the eye lens.A healthy lens is clear like a camera’s. Light passes through it to your retina — the back of your eye where images are processed. When you have a cataract, light can’t get through as easily. The result: You can’t see as well and may notice glare or a halo around lights at night. Cataracts often form slowly. They don’t cause symptoms like pain, redness, or tearing in the eye

Glaucoma

Your eye is like a tire: Some pressure inside it is normal and safe. But levels that are too high can damage your optic nerve. Glaucoma is the name for a group of diseases that cause this condition.

Retinal Disorders

The retina is a thin lining on the back of your eye that is made up of cells that collect images and pass them on to your brain. Retinal disorders can damage the retinal cells and block this transfer. There are different types:

  • macular degeneration
  • Diabetic retinopathy 
  • Retinal detachment 

Conjunctivitis (Pink eye)

In this condition, tissue that lines the back of your eyelids and covers your sclera gets inflamed. It can cause redness, itching, burning, tearing, discharge, or a feeling that something is in your eye.

People of all ages can get it. Causes include infection, exposure to chemicals and irritants, or allergies.

Corneal Diseases

The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped “window” at the front of your eye. It helps to focus the light that comes in. Disease, infection, injury, and exposure to toxins can damage it. Signs include:

  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Pain
  • Reduced vision, or a halo effect

Balanced Bites For Optimal Eye Health

As you get older, you may find that you can’t see as well as you once did. That’s normal. You’ll probably need glasses or contacts. Other, more serious conditions also happen as you age. Eye diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts, can cause vision problems. Symptoms vary a lot among these disorders, so keep up with your eye exams. Some vision changes can be dangerous and need immediate medical care. Anytime you have a sudden loss of vision, or everything looks blurry — even if it’s temporary — see a doctor right away. Go to the emergency room or call 911.

If you suspect you may have any of the above conditions or diseases. Contact your local Healthcare Practitioner.

Balanced Healing can assist you with a personalised lifestyle plan to optimise your Eye Health.

Contact Sr Bridget Spargo @ 083 653 7470 or Email: b@balancedhealing.co.za to book an appointment.

References

Website: https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/common-eye-problems#1

Website: https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/eye-disorders/biology-of-the-eyes/structure-and-function-of-the-eyes

Website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsh2kPdgazo

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