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General EYE ADVICE

Introduction

Part I Eye Problems, Possible Causes and Advice By AGE Grouping

Section (A) INFANTS and PRE-SCHOOLERS

Section (B) SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN and ADOLESCENTS

Section (C) YOUNGER ADULTS  (UP TO EARLY FORTIES)

Section (D) MIDDLE AGE (UP TO SIXTY YEARS)

Section (E) OLDER AGE (OVER SIXTY YEARS)

Part (II) Selected Eye problems of Importance to All Age Groups.

Section (A) ASTIGMATISM

Section (B) COMMON CHRONIC INFECTIVE CONJUNCTIVITIS

Section (C) Hints on Eye Usage with Computers

Section (D) Lifestyle and Glaucoma

CONCLUSION

Importance of Varied Visual Experience

Children nowadays can be exposed to visually intensive activities such as T.V watching and computer games etc. from a very young age. It is important to realize that the eyes are most easily "moulded" in this age group. Prolonged eye use, especially with computers, can lead to more permanent structural changes of the eyes. The most common of these is myopia (short-sightedness), although in some children, the eyes can also develop astigmatic changes.

Children in this age group should not be using their eyes intensively for more than 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Even within this time span, the very young child should ideally be encouraged or distracted to regularly look away from the object of interest, at least every five minutes. If it is known that the child engages in a lot of close work, he or she should be examined so that performance lenses ("relaxing" glasses) can be prescribed, especially if there is evidence of even a relatively small vision defect. For example, if astigmatism is present and the eyes undergo prolonged amounts of close work, short-sightedness can develop. This is because the child needs to move closer to the object of regard in order to see more clearly, imposing a greater strain on the visual system. In the long term this can have adverse effects on the neck and spine due to the bad posture involved in leaning the head forwards.

There are several other important factors to consider if we wish to prevent vision problems in very young children. The distance, at which they sit and watch T.V, should be a minimum of 5 times the width of the T.V. screen. This enables them to have other objects in their field of view, to which they can occasional shift their focus. Even very short-lasting changes of gaze away from the object of regard, can help prevent adverse effects on the eyes. The room's light-source should be of a diffuse type and should not be directly visible when watching T.V. The light level in the room should be moderately low so as to maintain the contrast of the picture on the T.V screen, however, there should be enough light so as to be able to clearly see any other objects within the room. See Appendix I for more detailed general advice on how to prevent vision problems through good vision habits. Also see section I(B) for brief advice on correction of myopia.

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