Stop, Look, ListenMarch 05, 2015

This is the time of the year when you'll hear those terrible jokes on the eyes. But there's a reason. Orthoptic Awareness Week, which is from March 2-6, encourages regular eye examination. If you think that someone is pulling a leg, then rest assured that this is a serious campaign.

Here are three reasons why you'll take those jokes seriously:

Eyesight deteriorates with age. Our physical strength starts to diminish once we reach the age of forty. In the case of men, hair growth takes longer if compared to their younger years. We also have trouble reading when we're close to the book (or computer screen). So we need to keep a distance. It has something to do with the corneal surface, which is responsible for the clear vision. Aging can damage that surface, due to inflammation of the eyelids. This is why we must undergo eye examination every two years. If problem persists, then there's a need to use reading eyeglasses. Consider eye lenses if you already have one.

Illness can pose danger to your eyes. Middle age means the body is more susceptible to disease-causing microorganisms. We must be mindful of external factors, such as stress. Then you must be aware of your family's history, especially those who suffered from glaucoma. All of these can have an effect on your eyesight. It's important to consult your doctor, an annual check up if it's not serious.

Unhealthy habits can affect your vision. All of us are guilty of one or two habits that can do harm to our health in the long run. In the case of our eyesight, it can be lack of light while reading. It can also be the proximity to a computer screen (or the telly). Sleep deprivation can be harmful to us if it happens frequently. It's not too late to break those habits.

The solutions are easy to read, but hard to follow. But there should be no excuses. Something can be done. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rich in beta-carotene. Make sure you won't get tired of reading (or looking at the screen). A healthy lifestyle will keep those illness(es) away.

We need a good eyesight, or what is left of it, as we grow older. Many find out a bit too late how important this human sense is. If we're not being careful, then think what message we are sending to the children. This is why Orthoptic Awareness Week is being observed in a lighthearted manner. There's more to this than meets the eye.

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