LET'S OPEN OUR EYES

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Timely care for the eyesight is important. Modern ophthalmology provides us with improved efficiency and reliable results

We have five senses, but eyesight is the one of them that suffers the most from modern lifestyle. Since screens became an integral part of our lives, we strain our eyes from the second we awake to the moment we fall asleep. We check the social networks and we read news, we watch TV series and we have video calls with our relatives abroad, we book hotels and buy tickets on our phones. We take photos, we share, we comment, we tag, we search in Google. We work all day long on a computer and when we travel, we play games on our phones or read e-books on the plane. As a result, our eyes are exposed to a level of stress unseen (pun intended) in the whole evolutionary history of humanity.

That is why we have to take proper care of them. Small changes in our everyday routine can be beneficial. It is recommendable that two hours before going to bed we put away the smartphone and the tablet and shut down the PC. Otherwise – as anyone who has ever quarrelled over something on Facebook knows, we got overexcited and can have troubles getting asleep.

How to know if screens interfere with our vision? Eye strain, blurred vision and inability to focus at a distance are all sure signs for that. But the list doesn't end with these. In it are also included the "dry eye" feel, the headache, the pain in the neck, back, shoulders. To limit these unpleasant experiences, move your desktop monitor so that its top is at the same level with your eyes and you should look a bit down when you use it. Avoid glare from windows and other sources of light, choose a comfortable chair and sit properly on it. Blink often and every 20 minutes look somewhere else to let your eyes rest (the phone doesn't count). Take a 15-minute break every two hours.

Artificial tears are a popular and efficient way to deal with "dry eye." But not all artificial tears are equal. The artificial tear Thealoz® Duo (www.synapsis.bg) stands out from the crowd. It is a combination of two natural ingredients (trehalose 3% and hyaluronic acid 0.15%) with repeated action for any kind of "dry eye." Hyaluronic acid preserves the water and sticks to the eye surface, thus hydrating and "lubricating" it. Trehalose improves the extended effect of the acid, reduces the applications with 50% and penetrates the epithelium cells, resulting in preservation of the cell membrane from dehydration and the proteins from denaturation. All of these make Thealoz® Duo a solution suitable for patients after ophthalmological surgery, wearers of contact lenses and everyone suffering from moderate to severe form of "dry eye."

Good diet is also crucial for good eyesight – the joke that carrots are good for eyes as no-one has ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses is actually quite true. Eating diverse foods like green leaf vegetables, oily fish, eggs, nuts, beans, citrus fruits charges the organism with omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and С and Е vitamins. According to surveys, they can prevent the development of age-related ophthalmological problems such as macular degeneration (untreatable loss of central sight) and cataract. Something more: eating healthily will keep your body weight within the norm. That means lesser risk of developing type-2 diabetes and the loss of eyesight that is connected to it.

Smoking is also a factor linked to development of macular degeneration and cataract so stop or reduce it, if you can.

People who already suffer from farsightedness, shortsightedness, astigmatism, shouldn't compromise when choosing dioptric glasses or lenses. Indeed, there are cheap "ready solutions" on the market, but their quality does not justify the money you save. Modern manufacturers of quality dioptric glasses and lenses offer a variety of high-tech variants such as glasses with anti-scratch, anti-reflective and anti-UV coating. Glasses can also be photochromatically treated so they automatically darken when exposed to sunlight. This makes them an excellent alternative to sunglasses for people with too high diopter.

Even people with healthy eyes shouldn't ignore the risk of damages caused by ultraviolet rays in sunlight. It is recommendable that sunglasses blocking between 99 and 100 percent of the UVA and UVB rays are worn in all cases.

Whatever protective measures we take, regular visits to a good ophthalmology specialist is crucial for us to enjoy good vision. Prophylaxis will not only find whether you need to change the diopter, but is also the only way for diagnosing one of the most serious ophthalmological diseases. Glaucoma is the loss of sight due to eye nerve damage caused by increased eye tension. The disease has no symptoms and can be diagnosed only during an ophthalmological examination. Globally, glaucoma is the second biggest cause for blindness, after cataract. Treatment is possible, if the disease is diagnosed on time and treated right.

The good news is that in recent years ophthalmology is experiencing a period of intensive development. To a significant extent it is connected to development of laser surgery as a whole, as a fast and save treatment method with short recovery period. In ophthalmology, laser surgery is now commonly used for correction of refractive errors such as shortsightedness, longsightedness and astigmatism, and for treatment of cataract.

These modern methods, however, are not cure-all. Only an experienced and skilled specialist in ophthalmology can decide if a patient would benefit from such treatment and which method would work best. Individual approach is crucial, and so is knowledge of both established practices and innovation in the field.

"Smart Тrans PRK is the latest novelty in laser corrections," says Dr Svetoslav Doychinov from Doychinov Eye Center (Sofia, 22 Elemag St, phone: 0877 700 400, www.doychinov.bg). "This is an improved model for the sequence, speed and shape of the laser beams. This model decreases the depth of the treated zone and reduces the thermal exposition of the cornea. All this contributes for a very quick and safe recovery after the laser procedure."

From high-tech treatment and qualified specialists to the most advanced glasses, lenses and artificial tears available, Bulgaria offers everything needed for keeping one's eyes healthy. Novelties arrive in the country without delay and quickly become established practices, and professionals in the field are in line with the development of international ophthalmology.

So, the only thing that we have to do to enjoy good eyesight is to take care of ourselves, and to not forget to wear our sunglasses.

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