www.whyville.net Apr 27, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Medicate Me: Can You See Me?

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After a long day on the computer, I usually squint at the screen and rub my blurry eyes. I then relax my eyes by watching TV or by staring at my cell phone and texting. I know that I am not the sole user of technology. These days, children as young as eight years of age are carrying around cell phones and glaring blankly at their laminated screens. Technology is the main contributor of the loss of vision in teenagers. The number of children diagnosed with eye conditions has risen immensely since the last decade. Over the course of 20 years, 93% of the young adult population in Taiwan have experienced short sightedness.

The reported eye traumas include:

Myopia (nearsightedness) - the most common eye problem among teenagers. Myopia causes the inability to see things that are far away. People with myopia also have larger eyes, measuring from the front to the back. Myopia might cause situations such as increased risk of blindness,

Hyperopia (farsightedness) - effectuates people to have difficulty focusing on things up close. Hyperopics are known to have shorter eyes, measuring from the front of the eyeball to the back.

Astigmatism - curses people with the incapability to view things up close, and far away. Those with astigmatism have corneas that are not rounded but slightly slanted, resembling an almond-like shape.

These problems can be easily corrected with glasses or contact lens. Another solution is refractive surgery, which involves a laser being shone in your eyes. If you are diagnosed with any of these conditions at a young age (preferably 7-14), there is a slight chance of your eyes improving. However, for those over 18 years old have fully grown eyes, decreasing the possibility of change.

How Can I Prevent It?

There is no way to regain the vision you once had. But experts have the following suggestions:

- Outdoor activities
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun's rays
- Take a break from staring into screens
- Stay a hefty distance away from the screen (recommended 5 inches)
- Eat foods with Vitamin A, such as carrots, milk, cheese, egg yolk, liver
- Wear prescribed contact lens
- Do not put reading material too close to your eyes
- Wash your hands on a regular basis and avoid touching your eyes

Try This!

Try the following exercises to determine whether your vision is in trouble!

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Symptoms of Eyesight Failure or Eye Infections

- headaches
- blurred vision
- teary, red eyes
- dry eyes

If any of these symptoms occurred while looking at the pictures, you should book an appointment with your doctor. Teenagers take everything for granted these days -- including their vision. They are too occupied with their own personal problems to add 'maintaining vision' to that long list. However, being cautious about your eyesight is quite simple and can be easily added to your daily routine. Take the initiative to maintain your eyesight because you will thank yourself in the long run. Life is too beautiful to not be seen. For more information, please visit: http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/take_care/vision_care.html.

Author's Note: Sources:


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