Our understanding of eye problems has increased massively in the past few years, and we’re able to treat them more effectively than ever before, but just as things are improving in this way, new conditions have emerged to present a fresh challenge. Modern eye problems can be every bit as serious as those that troubled people in the past, so it’s important to be aware of what they are and what you can do about them.
Computer vision syndrome
The biggest single cause of eye problems in the modern world is undoubtedly the computer. Using it for hours at a time, as many of us do in the course of our work, can cause eyestrain and headaches, dry eyes, and even double vision. It’s essential to tackle these problems early to prevent serious damage from occurring. Glare is also an issue and may contribute to the risk of developing cataracts. While these can usually be treated with laser eye surgery, it’s much better to avoid them in the first place by turning down the brightness on your monitor and taking five-minute breaks once an hour to let your eyes recover.
Eye damage and pollution
Day-to-day exposure to pollution can also put eyes at risk. Even the ordinary traffic fumes you’re exposed to if you live in a city or commute to and from work can cause eye irritation, and when this happens every day, you’re at greater risk of infections. If you experience swelling around your eyes, dryness or itching, watery eyes, red eyes, or increased sensitivity to light, you should see an optician as soon as possible. You can also take eye drops to help protect your eyes and reduce the risk of problems like this developing.
Eye damage and household chemicals
These days, we use more synthetic cleaning products in our homes than ever before. Though they usually carry warnings and they’re designed to be as safe as possible while still doing their job, every year, 125,000 people suffer chemical burns to their eyes after coming into contact with such products. If this happens to you, the first thing you should do is rinse your eyes with a lot of water. You should then see an optician even if you don’t think you’ve been badly affected—some chemicals may remain in your eye and do ongoing damage. Some people lose their sight due to injuries like these, and prompt treatment can make all the difference.
Diseases of old age
One other major factor has changed the profile of eye problems in modern times, and that’s the fact that, on average, we are living longer. More older people means more cataracts, more glaucoma, and more long-sightedness; these are all treatable conditions, but they are too often allowed to become a serious problem before treatment is sought. Poor vision in later life is not inevitable, and looking after your eyes well when you’re young can do a lot to reduce the risks you face. As we look forward to living longer, regular eye exams have become more important than ever.