The most common problems affecting eyesight are near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism – these are called refraction disorders, meaning that they are caused by light hitting the seeing parts of the eye in the wrong way. Other common disorders include retinal detachment, colour blindness, and night blindness.
Symptoms indicating vision problems may include:
- Blurred vision when looking at distant objects
- Blurred vision when looking at close objects
- Vertical or horizontal lines that appear blurry
- Flashing lights or spots in front of your eyes
- Problems deciphering between red and green in dim light
- Difficulty distinguishing objects in dim light
Near-sightedness (or myopia) occurs when images are focused in front of the retina instead of on it as in normal vision.
Consequently, objects in the distance appear blurred. You may find that you have to sit very close to the front of a classroom or theatre in order to see what is going on.
Far-sightedness (or hyperopia) is the opposite of near-sightedness. With this disorder, the lens of the eye focuses images behind the retina, making nearby objects appear blurry. You may find that you need to hold the newspaper at arms length to be able to read it clearly.
Astigmatism, happens when the eye lacks a single point of focus. This can be the result of an abnormality within the lens. Some objects may appear blurry while others clear.
If you experience difficulties seeing properly at night, you may have a deficiency in vitamin A, or a disease of the retina.
The process of oxidation is thought to contribute to degenerative eye disorders.
Antioxidant herbs and nutrients may reduce the risk of cell damage from oxidation.
Anthocyanidins in the herb bilberry have been clinically proven to improve the blood flow to the vessels of the eye, and is particularly indicated for people with night blindness, near-sightedness and eye fatigue associated with over-use (as occurs with computer operators and professional drivers, for example).
Treatment of your vision problem depends on its cause and severity. In most cases you will need to consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist for treatment.
The most common treatment for simple eye problems such as near or far-sightedness, or astigmatism, is the prescription of glasses or contact lenses. These are specially shaped to force the light to hit your eye in the right place.
Some other eye conditions, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment may require surgery, whilst others such as glaucoma are treated with prescription medications.
Continuous strain on the eyes can lead to vision problems – make sure to take a break from your computer, and always wear your glasses when you need them.
Lying down in a dark room with your eyes covered by cool wet chamomile tea bags or slices of cucumber can be very soothing to tired eyes (HINT: make sure to use pure chamomile teabags, not mixed blends – certain other herbs used in this way may irritate the eyes).
Resting your eyes when they are overworked is the first line of defence against vision problems.
A well-balanced diet will help your eyes stay healthy and your vision sharp. Make sure to include plenty of red and orange fruit and vegetables, and eat fish several times per week.
If you develop vision problems of any sort, it is essential that you visit your healthcare professional or optometrist.
Other reasons to consult your healthcare professional include:
- Becoming unusually sensitive to bright light
- Your contact lenses becoming uncomfortable
- A cut or blow to your eye affecting your vision