Eye health in the online era
Dr Nikhil Mali
These days education is being imparted online across the world. Right from kindergarten to graduation everyone is attending lectures online. By leveraging technology, we have continued learning even in current times without going anywhere. This requires everyone to use a computer and mobile phone continuously. Due to this prolonged usage of devices, our eyes are getting impacted the most. Most of the people are glued to a computer or mobile phone throughout the day. They use their mobile phone in improper posture while lying down, work in a dark room or in dim lights and continuously keep working ignoring hunger or thirst, and in turn, their physical health.
This kind of lifestyle has led to a raise in dry eyes, red eyes, eye pain, headache, neck pain, indigestion, acidity, constipation, lethargy, insomnia, irritable behaviour, indecisiveness, etc. With these symptoms you will understand the harmful effects of excessive usage of computer and mobile phone. Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate certain measures considering the health of our entire body and not just the eyes. This article explains how to take care of our eyes and the entire body in the current online era.
Do this to maintain good eye health
1. As a primary step, give proper rest to your eyes. Adequate sleep is the only way to achieve this. Avoid staying awake late in the night and sleeping during the day frequently.
2. Adopt a balanced diet to properly nourish the eyes. Include oily food items (like ghee) in the meals. Eating junk food should be intentionally avoided.
3. Drink water when thirsty. Avoid drinking a lot of water at a time, also, don’t restrict the urge for going to the toilet.
4. Seating arrangements should be ergonomic. Computer monitor should be 1 to 1.5 feet away from the eyes and below the eye level.
5. Air circulation and lighting should be adequate in the room while working.
6. Brightness level of the computer screen and mobile phone should be set appropriately so that the visibility is proper. A ‘blue light filter’ should be used while reading.
7. If you are using eyeglasses, you must get your eyes frequently checked and use eyeglasses with ‘blue block coating’ to protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays.
8. Follow the 20-20-20 rule of giving rest to the eyes after every 20 minutes, for about 20 seconds by looking at an object located outside or at a distance of 20 feet while working on a computer. With this, the stress on the cells of our eyes reduces, and our eyes will feel comfortable.
9. Eyelids should be opened and closed intermittently. This provides lubrication to our eyes and they remain moist.
10. Eyes should be washed with cold water intermittently. Mouth should be filled with water (after blowing up the cheeks) and water should be splashed around 21 times on the closed eyes. Then the water from mouth should be spit out. By doing this, heat from our eyes reduces and they become more clear. This process is called as ‘Netrasechan’ or ‘Netraprakshalan’ in Ayurveda.
11. The process of ‘Gandush’ (Oil pulling) as recommended in Ayurveda should be adopted. After brushing the teeth in the morning lukewarm sesame oil should be held in the mouth for about 15 minutes and it should be spit out followed by gargling warm water. This gives added benefit to the eyes.
12. Apply anjan (a black ointment) to the eyes as prescribed by Ayurveda as per doctor’s advice. This helps in expelling out the faults from our eyes.
13. Teachers and students should learn new technologies. This will reduce the time taken to impart and imbibe the teachings and as a result the eyes will get rest. Teachers should take a small break while teaching and should also urge their students to take a small break.
14. Some rest should be taken intermittently while working and the legs should be stretched by getting up from the seat. One should exercise regularly and include yogasanas and pranayama in the exercises.
15. Exercises beneficial for eyes (movements of the eyes) should be performed, in addition practice the process of Tratak (Staring at an object as a yogic exercise) as prescribed in Yoga. To comfort the eyes, palms should be vigorously rubbed against each other and then they should be kept gently on the closed eyes. This improves blood circulation in our eyes.
All the above points should be adopted while learning or teaching online. This will help improve eye health. In case of any problems, consult an eye specialist. Treatment at the right time, will ensure good health of their eyes, body and mind.
— Dr Nikhil Mali, Ayurvedic Eye Specialist, Chiplun, Ratnagiri district
16. Ensure that the font size in large (smaller font size is harder to read and increases stress on the eyes).
17. Eyes should be given complete rest by shutting down laptop or mobile phone for 2-3 days in a month.
18. Exercises related to eyes should be performed by taking a break of 2 minutes. One should look around by moving the eyes sideways or up and down and keep the eyes closed for some time.
19. To keep the eyes wet, specific eye-drops should be put in the eyes (under directions of a qualified doctor).
20. One should sit at a comfortable distance from the computer screen. Eyes get strained by sitting too close or too far away.
21. One should ensure that the wrist remains straight while typing.
22. Chair with adjustable height should be used. Legs should always rest on the floor while seating.
23. One should ensure that there is no reflection of light on the computer screen.
24. Keyboard should be placed in such a way that one’s wrists and the hands can be kept parallel to the ground.
25. One should get up intermittently and roam around.
— Dr Praveen Mehta (Homeopathy)
Daily routine for eye health
It is important to provide guidance on how to take care of the eyes during the day to keep them healthy. We should learn how to lead ideal daily routine to ensure good health of our eyes. Ayurveda has given primary importance to this aspect itself. The founder of the modern medical science Sir William Osler also said the same thing – ‘The first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine’.
If our daily routine is changed as given ahead, then our eyes will certainly remain healthy and the intensity of the ailments in the future will also get reduced.
1. Try to get up as early as possible. For this, obviously one should sleep early in the night. One should not remain awake till late in the night and should not sleep during the day. Try to avoid sleeping in the afternoon right after the lunch.
2. One must splash cold water on the eyes after brushing the teeth. Before doing this, one must fill water in the mouth and spit it after splashing the water on the eyes. This will reduce the heat around the eyes and the eyes will feel soothed.
3. One should do Abhyang meaning apply oil to the entire body and head before taking bath.
4. One should use cold water while bathing over the head. Using warm water harms our eyes and hair.
5. Based on the doctor’s advice, anjan should be applied to the eyes. This imparts protection to our eyes.
6. While going out in the sun, head should be covered well and sunglasses should be used.
7. Footwear should be used. As far as possible, plastic footwear or sandals should be avoided.
8. Eyes should be thoroughly cleaned at least 3 to 4 times a day.
9. Hands and feet should be cleaned thoroughly after entering home from outside. This will maintain good health of the eyes.
10. Do not forget to apply oil to the soles. This will ensure that the eyes will remain healthy.
All the above points should be incorporated. Most of the above points have been mentioned in the daily routine as prescribed by Ayurveda. If they are followed diligently, health of our eyes will remain intact.