Frame them to keep them protected

Frame them to keep them protected

The human eye is an extremely sensitive organ with more than 120 million rod cells which help in night vision and 8 million cone cells which help us discern colour and bright light.

Natural protection to the eye is provided by the bony structure of the skull which covers the eye from all sides except the front. The eyelids and eyelashes provide some protection by the blink mechanism which largely prevents dust from entering the eye. The constant flow of tears helps wash any fine particles which may have got past the lids.

Thus, while the design of the human body ensures a certain level of protection from external conditions, are we doing our bit in protecting the gift of sight?

For instance, dust and air pollution are the most common causes of eye irritation in India. The symptoms may vary from redness of the eye, itchy or burning eyes. Given today’s lifestyle, the eyes need to be protected from dust, chemicals, injury and excessive sunlight.

Spectacles or prescription glasses are typically thought to be needed only for correcting visual defects from a refractive error such as long sight or short sight or to mask an abnormal eye cosmetically.  There are also numerous social stigmas associated with the use of spectacles. It is not considered “cool” to wear them. However, you may not realise that you are squinting your eyes or contorting your face in your effort to see better. 

Many people will need glasses to correct their vision during the course of a lifetime. While certain styles do look better on some facial shapes, those in the eyewear business say that as long as there’s symmetry to the face and the glasses fit well, you can wear almost any style. And for most people, eyewear has to be comfortable. Titanium or lightweight plastic frames and thinner lenses make that happen.

Protecting the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays can reduce the risk of eye cancer, as well as some eye conditions like cataracts. Eye diseases such as muscular degeneration have also been linked to UV exposure. It is possible to get prescription sunglasses that correct vision like normal glasses while protecting the wearer from the sun at the same time.

These, however, can be expensive. When buying a pair of sunglasses, do make sure to check that they offer 100% protection against the sun’s UV rays, as not all the cheaper models do. Because sunglasses cause your pupils to widen as they do in the dark, cheap sunglasses can cause huge amounts of UV radiation to enter your eyes, therefore doing more harm than good.

Another area of concern is the risk of exposure to chemicals in our schools, colleges, workplaces and households. We use chemicals in various ways — to wash clothes, at school labs, in cars and so on.

The eyes can be protected by using either goggles or face shields based on the situation we are in.  For instance, splash goggles are made of a thick plastic and are held on the face with an adjustable strap that goes around the head.  Splash goggles are often made to completely cover the front of your eyes as well as the sides. They are great at stopping harmful chemicals from reaching the eyes.

The history of sunglasses dates back to ancient China and Rome. It has been reported that the Roman emperor Nero enjoyed watching gladiator fights through polished gems. In China, sunglasses were used in the twelfth century or even earlier. Sunglasses were first made out of lenses that were flat panes of smoky quartz.

Today, sunglasses continue to make advances.  UV protection has almost become an industry standard, and there are sunglasses available for a variety of sports. There are numerous tints available for sunglasses, and sunglasses have changed styles over the years. Prescription glasses have also been given tints that only appear when the sun’s rays hit the glasses. By paying close attention to your facial shape, it is possible to look impressive in a great pair of glasses as they have a way of lending character to the wearer.

(Paediatric Ophthalmologist, Sankara Eye Hospital)