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Looking Back To Chinese Methods Of Eye Care

Jul 1, 2008
There are lots of ways to look after our eyesight. Maintaining a healthy diet and wearing sunglasses are a good start. Regular eye checks are also essential to make sure our eyesight is corrected when necessary and also to pick up any of a number of ailments that our optician is privy to.

For those who need their vision correcting, trends have come on a long way in the last few years. From those ugly national health cheapies that we were subject to a few years ago, we now have the endless choice of designer frames as well as frameless glasses, glasses with bendy frames for the accident prone, designer sunglasses and contact lenses.

Contact lenses have, themselves, come on leaps and bounds with the new technology that is available. The more advanced they become, the more people are able to use them. At first, there were only the hard type and not many people could wear them comfortably. Then there were softer types, short term lenses and long term options. However, it has always been a rule of thumb that if you wear contact lenses, you should take them out at night to reduce the risk of a nasty eye infection.

The latest development in the arena of eye care is the innovative contact lenses that are to be worn at night which promise to correct your eyesight for the following day. The idea is that the lenses gently press on the eyeball to restore the natural shape that is missing in a person who is short sighted, something that affects around 12 million people in the UK.

When the eyeball is too long or the cornea is too curved, light rays from distant objects focus in front of the retina as opposed to directly on it which bakes the vision fuzzy. Hard lenses are usually too uncomfortable to wear all day but worn overnight, they should put enough pressure on the eyeball to temporarily change the shape of the eye, thus restoring normal vision.

Corneal topography, where the curvature of the eye is measured, is used to determine the right amount of pressure needed. A little more pressure than is necessary will be added to prevent the cornea springing straight back into shape therefore allowing the corrected vision to last all day. In some cases, the effects will last more than one day and so it wouldn't hurt if you missed a night or two, although the vision would gradually deteriorate.

Weighting the eyeballs into a more natural shape is not a new thing. It is believed that for centuries, the Chinese have slept with small weights on their eyelids to counteract short-sightedness. However, their technique was always a little hit and miss given that each person has a slightly different curve to their lens. With today's technology, the results are much more marked with up to 70 per cent vision correction after one night and full vision restored within a week.

If short-sightedness is caught in early childhood it is thought that this method might lead to permanent correction. If nothing else, it will slow the degeneration process. However, the method is not suitable for diabetics, for those with eye diseases or for long-sightedness.

The new developments in eye care are good news for the millions of sufferers of short-sightedness. It means they can spend all night in their corrective lenses, then spend all day wearing sunglasses, whether designer or other, and not have to worry about wearing corrective glasses.
About the Author
Optical expert Catherine Harvey looks at the use of diet, sunglasses and weights to keep eyes healthy.
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