HEALTH & FITNESS





Go easy on your eyes
Young professionals and children are at potential risk of Computer Vision Syndrome as they tend to spend long hours in front of computer screens
Dr Rasheena Bansal
In the present times, a working professional's workstation has at least one computer screen. With the increasing work load, most people tend to spend at least seven to eight hours in front of a computer. If you add leisure-time activities like computer games or social networking, the hours spend in front of the screen become much more. In midst of all these activities, we tend to ignore the strain our eyes have to endure.

Doctors drastically overprescribe antibiotics for sore throat, bronchitis
Washington: A new analysis has found that doctors prescribe antibiotics to a vast majority of people who see them for sore throats or acute bronchitis, despite the fact that only a small percentage of them should be given the drugs.

Health Notes
Meditation alone doesn't lower BP
New York: Stress reduction exercises have been linked to many health benefits, but lower blood pressure may not be one of them. A new study found eight weeks of mindfulness meditation had no effect on people with slightly elevated blood pressure who were not yet taking any medication.  



Reuters Health

 

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Go easy on your eyes
Young professionals and children are at potential risk of Computer Vision Syndrome as they tend to spend long hours in front of computer screens
Dr Rasheena Bansal


The incidence of CVS is rising in the IT industry. However, a few simple precautions can check this menace

In the present times, a working professional's workstation has at least one computer screen. With the increasing work load, most people tend to spend at least seven to eight hours in front of a computer. If you add leisure-time activities like computer games or social networking, the hours spend in front of the screen become much more. In midst of all these activities, we tend to ignore the strain our eyes have to endure.

Apart from the strain on eyes, the use of computer in an incorrect way can also result in muscle pain, joint pain, neck and shoulder pain. If not taken care of at the earliest, the eye strain may cause permanent damage. The risks can be reduced, or sometimes totally eliminated, by a proper workspace design, correction of posture, following good working habits, exercise and use of a proper technological solution.

According to statistics, an estimated 39 million people around the world today are blind. However, every four cases out of five could have been prevented had proper precautions been taken. Blindness is caused by several problems but it usually starts the minute some eye-related problem goes unnoticed.

Growing epidemic

The incidence of Computer Vision Syndrome is rising in the IT industry over the last few years. Most eye specialists are getting four to five cases per month of people who are suffering or have symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS).Young professionals and children are at potential risk as they tend to spend maximum time in front of computer screens. The kids, too, are constantly glued to their gaming stations or computer or smartphone screens.

Due to long working/leisure hours in front of the desktops, health is deteriorating in the process, especially of our eyes. The working professionals often tend to ignore the basic symptoms which may be responsible for their declining vision, leading to rise in the number of cases for CVS.

One of the key reasons leading to CVS is that when a person works in front of his computer continuously three to four hours without a break, his/her blinking rate of eyes reduces drastically; a normal person blinks 10- 15 times per minute. But a person working in front for a monitor blinks two to three times only. Because the blinking rate reduces, hence the wetting of the eye also reduces and because the eyes are not wet, so the oxygen supply to one's eyes also lowers down which in turn creates a problem.

Also prolonged activity without a major break can cause focusing problems and eye irritation. These problems may occur because of the continuous focus of the eyes on a particular object. In some cases, this causes the eyes to be unable to focus smoothly and easily on a particular object, even long after the completion of the work.

Corporate employees, whose job profile entails sitting hunched for long hours in front of the computer, are, predictably, the worst-hit by CVS. As per a recent survey conducted in July 2013 by the Advance Eye Hospital & Institute, Mumbai, among 956 corporate employees it was noticed that 25 per cent of private sector employees surveyed suffered from dry eyes, another 15 per cent had fluctuating vision and 30 per cent had low accommodative power, which is the ability of the eye to adjust itself to read from close quarters as well.

Preventive measures

One can curb the computer vision syndrome by practicing some basic things, especially when using computer for long, continuous periods of time. One should blink eyes after regular intervals, because when we blink our eyes there is a fresh layer of tears that pass through the cornea that helps to pass oxygen to the cornea.

Another major step is to take regular breaks while one is working. Ideally one must take a break after every 20 minutes and focus on a far object for at least 20 second. It is called the 20/20 rule.

The computer monitor and the keyboard should be positioned and adjusted according to the body height. The screen should not be positioned at a too high level in one's field of view. Also the computer should be placed in such a way that windows and other light sources in a room should not create glare on the screen. When this occurs, the desk or the computer screen should be turned to another direction.

Also it is important to use the right kind of technology in today's scenario. We must make sure we are using the right kind of monitors to avoid eye strain, such as anti-glare glasses, screens, flicker-free monitors etc. Prolonged flickering poses a serious threat to eye health. Ergonomic solutions help people to maintain a level of safety for the eyes.

As most conventional LED monitors create a flickering effect, it can strain the eyes when viewed for long periods of time. However, computer screens with flicker-free feature eliminate flickering and reduce glare that in turn can reduce the strain on user's eyes. One must also opt for a flicker-free monitor which comes with an automatic eye-protect sensor that can adjust brightness automatically for optimised clarity and eye comfort.

And above all visit your eye-specialist at regular intervals.

The writer is New Delhi-based consultant, paediatric ophthalmology, squint & neuro-ophthalmolgy

Symptoms of CVS

Eyestrain

It may be caused by many different environmental and visual conditions. When working on a computer, the muscles of the inner eye may tighten. This tightness can cause eye irritation and produce symptoms such as fatigue, red eyes, eye pain, blurred vision, headache and double vision.

Blurry vision

Blurred vision is a loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see small details. Blurry vision is sometimes related to the inability of the eyes to steadily focus on a computer screen for a significant amount of time. Also, vision may be blurred by constantly changing focus, such as looking back and forth between the keyboard and the computer screen.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes result from a lack of moisture in the eyes. Tears replenish moisture to the eye by way of blinking. Blinking is one of the fastest reflexes of the body. However, people tend to blink about half as much as normal when they are working on a computer.

Fatigue

Fatigue is another sign of computer vision syndrome. Looking at a computer screen with untreated vision problems can lead to eye and general fatigue. Overall, fatigue from working too long at a computer and concentrating without blinking, combined with poor lighting, can result in vision problems.

Double vision

Double vision, or diplopia, is the perception of two images from a single object. Staring at a computer screen for too long may cause double vision.

Neck and shoulder pain

Since the eyes lead the body, we may sit in awkward or hunched positions at the computer to compensate for visual problems as they occur. Slumping or slouching can lead to neck and back pain. Also, if you wear glasses with a bifocal while at the computer, you may unknowingly be tilting your head in various ways in order to see the screen clearly, resulting in physical pain.

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Doctors drastically overprescribe antibiotics for sore throat, bronchitis

Washington: A new analysis has found that doctors prescribe antibiotics to a vast majority of people who see them for sore throats or acute bronchitis, despite the fact that only a small percentage of them should be given the drugs.

Harvard University researchers analysed the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and determined that doctors prescribed antibiotics in 60 per cent of visits for sore throats and 73 per cent of visits for acute bronchitis. The antibiotic prescribing rate should be about 10 per cent for sore throats and nearly zero for acute bronchitis.

The analyses suggest that despite of repeated warnings, patients are continuing to request antibiotics for conditions they don't cure, and doctors are prescribing them. The inappropriate use of antibiotics adds to the creation of drug-resistant bacteria, or "superbugs," which are very difficult to treat and are a public health threat.

Senior author of the study, Jeffrey A. Linder, said that people need to understand that by taking antibiotics for viral infections, they're putting something in their bodies that they don't need.

To assess the antibiotic prescribing rate for sore throat, researchers determined there were 94 million visits to primary care physicians and emergency rooms for sore throats between 1997 and 2010, based on an extrapolation of 8,191 visits. Physicians prescribed antibiotics 60 per cent of the time, a decrease from 73 per cent from numbers reported by the same authors in 2001.

Regarding acute bronchitis, researchers calculated there were 39 million visits to primary care physicians and emergency rooms between 1996 and 2010, based on a extrapolation of 3,667 actual visits. Researchers determined there was a significant increase in the number of visits for acute bronchitis to primary care doctors, from 1.1 million in 1996 to 3.4 million in 2010.

They also noted an increase in the antibiotic prescribing rate in emergency rooms, from 69 per cent to 73 per cent, during the same 14-year period.

The study is published in JAMA Internal Medicine. ANI 

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