In Brazil, it is estimated that more than 35 million people have a problem that makes it difficult to see. This Sunday (10), Eye Health Day promotes awareness about vision care.
Research by Datafolha points out that a quarter of Brazilians do not go to the ophthalmologist. The Brazilian Society of Ophthalmology (SBO) recommends that an ophthalmological examination be performed in childhood and another in adulthood, between 30 and 40 years old. From the age of 40, the recommendation is an annual examination. People with family members who have an eye disease should undergo periodic examinations.
Experts consulted by CNN explain the main mistakes people make that can damage their eyes and recommend foods that benefit eye health.
What to include in an eye-friendly diet
“Carrots, or rather the beta-carotene present in carrots, is good for the eyes. And if the carrot is organic, the better. It is important to eat foods of varied colors. The more colors, the greater the diversity of vitamins and minerals and the more benefits for eye health”, says nutritionist Viviane de Castro Teixeira Alvarenga.
Among the vitamins recommended for good vision are A, E and C , present in purple, red and orange foods such as açaí, jabuticaba, pumpkin and papaya. They are antioxidants and fight free radicals and eye aging.
According to experts, foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin are also antioxidants. They are found predominantly in yellow, orange, red and green vegetables , including nectarines, oranges, papayas, peaches, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, corn and arugula.
In the list of minerals, zinc, magnesium and copper are recommended.
Ophthalmologist Emerson Fernandes de Sousa e Castro, from Hospital Sírio-Libanês, in São Paulo, explains that omega 3 contributes to lubrication and helps fight dry eye syndrome. Raw garlic is good for glaucoma , being effective in reducing eye and body pressure by having a vasodilator effect.
“The omega 3 present in oily fish, such as sardines, salmon and tuna, for example, ends up protecting the eyes and the lack of intake of this type of food can harm the eyes”, says Castro.
Main mistakes that can harm the health of the eyes
Scratching your eyes, sleeping with makeup on, wearing glasses or contact lenses and prescription eye drops are among some of the main mistakes made that can pose risks to eye health.
“It is very important for the health of the eyes to make an appointment with the ophthalmologist at least once a year. It is a mistake to wear glasses of dubious origin, especially sunglasses bought from street vendors. Rubbing and scratching the eyes is a habit that can lead to the development of a disease called keratoconus, in which the cornea is deformed, and is often in the shape of a cone”, warns ophthalmologist Gustavo Bonfadini.
The specialist warns that the excessive use and without breaks of screens, such as the computer and cell phone , throughout the day, can cause problems for eye health. “This exposure causes tiredness of the inner muscles of the eyes and, at the end of the day, that person will have several symptoms of visual fatigue, irritated and even inflamed eyes”, he explains.
To reduce the problem, ophthalmologist Sérgio Fernandes, a member of the Brazilian Society of Ophthalmology, advises people to take breaks of at least five minutes between one and two hours of computer use.
“Resources to combat dryness caused by excessive use of screens involve teaching the body to blink to lubricate the eyes. Lubricating eye drops can also be used, two to four times a day, ”she said.
The Brazilian Society of Ophthalmology also recommends that activities on computers, cell phones and tablets lasting more than four hours should be interrupted for longer breaks in order to avoid the intensification of visual discomfort.
The Sírio-Libanês ophthalmologist recommends caution when using eye drops sold in pharmacies. “It is dangerous to use eye drops without a clear medical indication, lubricant eye drops, also called artificial tears, can be used at will”, he explains.
eye allergy care
Eye allergy can cause symptoms such as itchy eyes and tearing, which affect quality of life. Although the symptoms are mild in most cases, the allergy can be confused with other diseases such as asthma and atopic dermatitis.
Persistence and lack of proper care can lead to complications such as ocular ulcers, corneal keratitis, keratoconus and even permanent visual disturbances.
Doctor Elizabeth Mercer Mourão, coordinator of the Department of Ocular Allergy of the Brazilian Association of Allergy and Immunology (ASBAI), explains that ocular symptoms can affect the mental, functional, physical and social state of patients.
“Children and adolescents have a drop in school performance, restriction of sports, leisure and social activities. Teenagers can still suffer from low self-esteem and experience emotional disorders such as depression and anxiety,” she says.
The feeling of dry eye may be associated with ocular allergy, especially in adults. The diagnosis of ocular allergy is clinical, based on the appearance of symptoms, with exposure to allergens from dust mites, pollens and pet hair.
The doctor explains that intense photophobia and eye pain are warning signs that indicate the need for specialized care.
Treatment of ocular allergy includes environmental control measures, such as not accumulating dust and changing bed linen periodically. For patients who still have symptoms, the use of eye drops and stabilizers may be indicated.