Visual health: rules of eye hygiene in a healthy environment

Both parents, in cases where their work is mainly in an office, as well as children of school and university age, spend most of their time in activities related to literacy, either with the use of paper or using the computer. Knowing how to take care of your eyes while maintaining a series of eye care will help you maintain good eye health

The eye hygiene in a healthy environment It is one of the first factors that have to be taken care of since childhood and throughout adulthood. Know the guidelines to enjoy a good visual health It is essential to maintain good visual acuity and prevent eye problems. Take note of this series of basic rules for vision care:

Basic rules of eye hygiene

- Do not touch your eyes with dirty hands
- Maintain strict hygiene of objects that have to do with the eyes, such as glasses and contact lenses, especially in the case of the latter.
- Use glasses with lenses of hardened organic material (plastic), which do not scratch.
- Prevent children from watching television without an ambient light on.
- If a toxic product enters the eyes, wash them immediately with water and go to the specialist.
- If a wound or trauma occurs, do not rub the eye or apply any medication to reduce swelling.
- During the study time make sure that the correct optical correction is carried out, whenever it is necessary according to medical prescription.
- Every 45-60 minutes It is advisable to introduce rest periods and perform a series of simple eye relaxation exercises. (see table at the end of this chapter).
- Look through the window making a change of accommodation near-far whenever possible and architectural arrangements allow it.
- The compresses of very cold water applied on the eyelids produce a relaxing effect.
- Infusions of chamomile, fennel, etc., applied with warm water cottons have an anti-inflammatory and soothing action since it is a positively ionized liquid.

Visual skills: what they are and how to improve them

In order to make a good visual reading, a series of visual skills must be performed with accuracy and precision:

1. Ocular motor and saccadic movements
Our eyes move through the lines of the text to read and grasp the meaning of what we read. The eyes make visual fixations and jumps called saccades:
- During fixations we capture the information.
- When the eye moves to capture the following information, we do not capture any other information.
Sometimes it is observed that children move their heads when reading. They get tired very soon of the reading and disconnect immediately of the interest of the same one. This is because your visual system does not use the muscles of the eyes well to read. By good control of the movement of the eyes, it can be read better.

2. Convergence
In order for the two eyes to look at the reading text, they have to make a coordination movement called convergence. Thus, there must be a neurological mechanism capable of receiving and processing the images produced in each one and combining them into one. This makes possible the binocular vision and the adequate perception of the messages that we read. Visual processes are related to the understanding of the meaning of what is read.

3. Accommodation
It is the process that allows you to see things and reading texts focused at any distance, both from a distance and when reading is done. We can observe that, when changing the look from one place to another, there is a first moment that is blurred and then it is seen clearly.
- First you perceive the object to look at and the eyes move towards it, but they have not yet focused and it is blurred.
- Then the brain realizes this and sends the corresponding signals to focus clearly on the object. For example, if a child is in the classroom and has to follow the teacher's explanation on the board, he or she has to make an accommodation effort to capture the information from a distance and, later, closely, by noting in his or her notebook.

Environmental conditions that avoid visual effort

To avoid excessive visual effort, optimal conditions for intellectual work require a healthy environment:

- A temperature of 18 to 23 ° C. If it is higher, the heaters must be partially or totally closed, especially if they are right next to the work table.
- A humidity of 40% to 70% (although it is ideal from 55% to 65%). A good option for dry climates like those in the center of the peninsula is to place a small container with two or three fingers of water in a corner of the work table or computer. It is also convenient to place them under the radiators.
- A fresh and renewed air every two or three hours depending on the number of people that are. You can take advantage of rest periods to ventilate the room.
- Some teenagers and adults smoke while they study, which enrarece the environment and produces negative effects on the vision.
- Sometimes the study time is prolonged with psychotropic stimulants (caffeine, medications, etc.). These substances negatively affect tear and visual accommodation, and therefore impact on visual performance; reason more to avoid the consumption of harmful substances.
- You should avoid reading in bed, where the lighting is not usually adequate and we tend to approach the book too much and bend the spine. The energy expenditure that the organism performs under these conditions is greater than when these are adequate. For this reason, convalescents are recommended to keep a bed that they do not read for prolonged periods.
- It is also not advisable to read while walking or traveling in means of locomotion, since constant vibrations and movements force the visual system to make continuous readjustments (accommodative, visuomotor, convergence, etc.) that end up fatiguing it.

Mª Carmen García Castellón
Advice: Mª Pilar Martín Lobo. Institute of Neurology and Education

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