Thursday, October 8 is World Sight Day, and there’s a reminder from doctors that proper eye health can start at home if you are unable or hesitant to see an eye doctor because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Rajeev Ramchandran, associate professor of ophthalmology at Flaum Eye Institute says the pandemic has led to many people no-showing appointments, so it’s important people take other steps like eating a diet that encourages eye health.
Green leafy vegetables are one of the foods that helps.
“In keeping a good diet that is also heart healthy – it’s also preventive for cancer and other things,” Ramchandran said. “So keeping your eye healthful will keep your body’s health.”
Ramchandran says visiting the eye doctor is probably safer than the visiting dentist or some other doctors. He says Flaum Eye Institute screens patients beforehand and works hard to socially distance patients.
“Here at the Flaum Institute we have people wait in their cars as long as the weather has been okay and not too cold, and we call the patients in when we’re ready to see them in the office.” Ramchandran said. “We wipe down the rooms, we have a guard on the microscope that we use to look in the eye.”
Ramchandran adds it’s very important people with diabetes have an exam at least once a year because they could be at risk for developing retinopathy.
Another concern during the pandemic is the number of people working or attending school remotely. Ramchandran says that can lead to digital eye strain, so it’s important people give their eyes a break from the computer screen.
“So you want to relax the eyes by looking out in the far distance, if you have a window you can look outside, that’d be great.” Ramchandran noted.
“Kids really need to get outside and have sunlight because the more they stay indoors, the more they’re on those devices, the more they get the development of nearsightedness,” he added.
Ramchandran says nearsightedness, or myopia, is a huge problem worldwide and the pandemic will only make it worse as young people have to stay on computers for schooling.