Working in tandem with our brain, our eyes allow us to experience our environment in a way unrivalled by any other organ. And each of us experiences our environment in a very different and personal manner: everyone sees differently! What we see is not only determined by how well we can see, but also by what we actually want to see – our personal preferences, experience and memories all play a key role in what we perceive. We apparently receive around 80 percent of our impressions via our eyes.
But there's much more to it than that: our eyes are often said to be the window to our soul, and for good reason too. They also reflect how we are feeling – whether we are happy, sad, stressed or tired, for example. And this can even influence the quality of our vision. If we are stressed during an eye examination, the result will be different from that obtained when we are relaxed and in a good mood. And what we see during the daytime also accompanies us throughout the night. While we sleep, we process images that we saw when we were awake. Even embryos in the uterus can perceive light.
So it’s important for us to protect our eyes and take care of them any way we can. In other words, regular eye examinations are a must.
These days, our constant use of desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets or even just watching television means that our eyes are focused at the same distance for much longer than they used to be. This may result in eyestrain – and headaches, a sore back or a stiff neck at the end of the day.
There is some debate about whether eye training is effective. However, we can say one thing for sure: if we focus our eyes on something a short distance away (e.g. a computer) for long periods of time, we should ensure that we take short breaks during the day to allow them to recover. There is an easy way to do this: simply look into the distance at regular intervals without focusing on anything in particular – for five minutes every hour if you can.
And this not only applies to adults: if children are to develop their full visual potential, they need to subject their eyes to as many different stimuli as possible in both the near and far ranges. It is now a well-known fact that the incidence of short-sightedness or myopia is higher in children who spend too much time doing close-up activities like reading, painting or playing games on a tablet or desktop computer.
Exercise, daylight and a balanced diet are just as important for our eyes as for our general health. Make sure that you drink enough water during the day. An unbalanced diet (too much acid and food lacking in vitamins and nutrients), smoking, medication and a lack of exercise are bad for our eyes. Circulatory disorders are now seen as the main cause of many eye diseases. Too much direct sunlight can also damage our eyes. Take the appropriate precautionary measures – your eyes will thank you for it.