Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Clearer View Of Things

Of all our senses, it is sight which is deemed to be the most used. It works from the moment we wake up to the time we drift off to sleep. We use our eyes to read books, watch television, see our loved ones -- or enemies -- and go about our daily routine. Odes have been written about eyes being the windows of the soul, while romantics always include a glamorized description of their beloved's eyes, from the color to the shape. Being a 'decorative' feature on our faces and a necessary tool for vision, our eyes are indispensible, multi-tasking workers even in the most ungodly conditions.

But what happens when our eyes begin to give up? What if they suddenly show a decline in proficiency and exhibit symptoms of stress? Soon, we find ourselves squinting as we read the newspaper or having a hard time realizing that the bald, fat guy in the blurry distance happens to be our boss. Do we have to wait for our eyes' inevitable two weeks notice or AWOL before doing something?

Due to our current lifestyle, coupled with our genes, more and more people are developing near-sightedness and/or astigmatism, wherein the eye has a refractive error in the focusing of light, thus causing reduced visual acuity. This occurs mainly because we strain our eyes by often spending time in front of computers or reading texts with small letters in dim light. In fact, this condition is now common in children and teenagers who spend more time indoors, playing video games than going out or playing sports. Today, myopia is ranked as the leading eyesight problem in the world, affecting mostly those from Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. Majority of these people wear corrective lenses, turning our society into a colony of four-eyed freaks who consider glasses as the ultimate accessory for survival.

However, recent developments are now enabling people with minor eye disorders to regain or improve their vision without the need for or use of bulky glasses. This is by the use of INTACS. These are implants composed of a unique biocompatible plastic, which permanently changes some of the eye's tissues by correcting the cornea's shape and form and subtly flattening it. Patients need not worry about the implant interfering with their eyes, since it is small enough to be felt, and is also removable or changeable just like contact lenses. Studies show that 97% of the INTACS users reported to having improved their vision, resulting in a 20/40, 20/20, or 20/16 grade.

Of course, not everyone can wear INTACS, as there are several conditions and prohibitions set before it can be implanted. A person can be fitted with INTACS if their eyeglass prescription is somewhere between -1.00 to -3.00 diopters. Of course, healthy eyes are a must so the eyes should be disease or injury-free. The person also has had at least a year of stable vision. Pregnant or nursing women, or those with immunodeficiency or autoimmune diseases, like AIDS or LUPUS, are prohibited to undergo the treatment. Likewise, patients who are currently using prescription drugs are also discouraged from undergoing INTACS treatment because these drugs may affect vision or the cornea's healing.

Despite the advantages of this medical breakthrough, it is still important that we take good care of our eyes. If we are unable to avoid spending time in front of the television or computer, we should take several breaks to rest our eyes. Proper lighting conditions must also be considered when working or reading, so that our eyes will not be too stressed. People forget that a balanced diet and enough sleep are needed to ensure that our eyes are in top condition, so these factors should be considered, too. These steps may not take much effort or may not have immediate and dramatic effects, but unless we enjoy moving about in the hazy and blurry part of the world, or worse, be as blind as a bat, such efforts are helpful to see the world clearly, even without the rose-tinted glasses

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