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Regular eye check-ups today can prevent glaucoma in old-age: Study

Published on:18 July 2020, 12:26pm IST
Stop waiting and watching when it comes to eye care and take proper measures to ensure that your vision stays intact forever.
Team Health Shots
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Daily eye care is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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As soon as we wake up the first thing we look for is our mobile phone. Even as we take our daily dump, it’s our companion ensuring that we have enough avenues for endless scrolling. And once work for the day begins, it helps us destress. But why are we telling you all this? That’s because your screen time can impact your vision. 

By now we all know that all these fancy gizmos release blue-light which is very harmful to our eyes. But unfortunately, we can’t live without these gizmos anymore. So then what’s the solution? Well, all you need to do is get your eyes checked on a regular basis. In fact, a new study says that regular eye check-ups can keep your vision intact in old-age.

A research by the University of Bradford (UK) demonstrated that the brain compensates for the changes in the eye caused by glaucoma when looking at objects with everyday levels of contrast. 

The findings add to the understanding of why glaucoma patients report few early symptoms of the disease and may not seek testing until their disease is more advanced.

What’s glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain becomes damaged. It develops slowly over many years and affects peripheral vision first. If untreated, glaucoma results in permanent vision loss.

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Include nuts for good eyesight. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Glaucoma makes it harder to see the contrast–the differences between shades of light and dark–so the eyes are less able to detect low contrast objects. But until now it’s not been clear if this contrast sensitivity loss means that patients with glaucoma see visible objects in a different way from healthy people.

The University of Bradford team has shown that people with glaucoma see detectable contrast in the same way as healthy patients, despite their measurable vision loss.

Regular eye check-ups are what you require to avoid glaucoma in your old age
In the study, 20 participants with early- to moderate-stage glaucoma had their disease confirmed, and their areas of peripheral vision loss mapped. They were then asked to respond to a screen display of patterned patches.

They adjusted the controls until an image in their poor areas of vision looked equally as bright or dim as a central patterned patch. An eye tracker was used to ensure each patient was looking in the correct place before the central patch could be seen. A control group of healthy participants was tested in the same way.

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Too much of a smartphone is not good for your eyes. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

The researchers found that participants with glaucoma didn’t see the image as paler, or ‘greyed out’ in any way; instead they saw it in exactly the same way as people with healthy vision. The results suggest that glaucoma patients’ brains are compensating for damage to the optic nerve.

“This underlines why it’s so important to get eyes tested routinely so that glaucoma can be picked up before damage is established. It ties in with the fact that people who have glaucoma initially don’t report any symptoms: their brains are successfully overcoming a loss of contrast sight,” said Dr Jonathan Denniss, a qualified optometrist and lecturer at the University of Bradford, led the study.

“It’s always struck me as strange that we all accept the need for routine dental checks to maintain the health of our teeth and mouth, but that routine eye checks among the general population are not considered as important. This is a reminder to get your eyes checked regularly, even if they seem to be fine,” Denniss concluded. 

There are many simple eye exercises that you can also do to protect your eyes. For that consult your doctor and save your eyesight.

(With inputs from ANI)

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