Ophthalmologist links eating balanced diet to better eye health

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Abuja.

An ophthalmologist, Dr Aisha Kalambe, says eating a healthy balanced diet would guarantee better eye health.

Kalambe said this on Monday in Abuja, during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the occasion of the 2023 World Sight Day with the theme ‘Love Your Eyes at Work’.

The World Sight Day is marked annually on the second Thursday of October.

It is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and serves as an international day of awareness that aims to focus interest and draw attention to issues of visual impairment and blindness.

According to Kalambe, incorporating dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, yellow-colored vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes into ones diet will give the eyes the necessary nutrients to make them healthy.

Kalambe who is a Senior Consultant Ophthalmologist, Asokoro District Hospital, also said that fruits like all forms of citrus and nuts are particularly rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and specific substances that are particularly good for eye health.

“Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc, found in such foods to reduce the risk of certain serious eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.”

Speaking on the best practices for eye health at work, she advised people to imbibe eye health practices at work that suits their occupation.

She also said that the focus of the 2023 World Sight Day is to help people understand the importance of protecting their vision at their workplace and calling on employers to prioritise the eye health of their workers.

“The eye health care needs are different for every workplace.

“For example, factory workers, artisans, and mechanics must wear protective goggles to protect their eyes from dangers in their chosen fields.

“These dangers include chemicals, cement, wood chips, nail fragments, incandescent particles and flash burns.

“While drivers may need optimal vision for near and far distances to prevent road traffic accidents, they also require protection from the Ultraviolet rays (UV) of the sun, dust and toxic fumes from vehicles.

“This would be different from what an office worker, like a secretary, accountant, or classroom teacher would need which may be optimal refractive corrections to maximise comfort during their work or protection against UV and blue rays from digital devices.”

The ophthalmologist, however, said that generally, the best practices for eye health are breaks in between for frequent screen users.

“You need to obey the 20/20/20 rule every 20 minutes and look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

“At least two hours outside a day helps prevent the development of nearsightedness in children, wear prescription glasses if you need them and sunglasses outside to protect against radiation from the sun, don’t smoke and check cosmetics to prevent eye infections.

“Book eye tests and detect problems before they arise, you need your eyes to last your lifetime, so protect them”, she added.

On scheduled activities for the commemoration of the day, Kalambe said that the Health Services and Environment Services (HSES) of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) would screen FCTA secretariat staff on Tuesday.

Also, there would be eye screening at Karu Abattoir and surrounding communities on Wednesday for people to be able to check the condition of their eyes.

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