IT workers and Eye Strain, Dry Eyes

With the growing number of people glued to their computers/ Laptops/ Mobile Phones 24X7 in India, Computer eye strain or computer vision syndrome is bound to affect majority of the population. This group of users are not only IT/ITES workers but also workers from other industries as Computer has become a mainstay in a number of industries.

Initially it was thought that eye strain and other symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS) occur in adults only but a recent study shows that many children who are exposed to computers either at home or in school suffer from similar issues. With even books being phased out by ebook readers the problem is bound to increase. Following are some of the symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome:

• Headache
• Loss of focus
• Burning eyes
• Tired eyes
• Double vision
• Blurred vision
• Neck and shoulder pain

What causes it ?

Computer eye strain and computer vision syndrome are caused by our eyes and brain reacting differently to characters on a computer screen than they do to printed characters. Our eyes have little problem focusing on printed material that has dense black characters with well-defined edges. But characters on a computer screen don’t have the same degree of contrast and definition.

Words on a computer screen are created by combination’s of tiny points of light (pixels), which are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward their edges. This makes it more difficult for our eyes to maintain focus on these images. Instead, our eyes want to drift to a reduced level of focusing called the “resting point of accommodation” or RPA. Our eyes involuntarily move to the RPA and then strain to regain focus on the screen. This continuous flexing of the eyes’ focusing muscles creates the fatigue and eye strain that commonly occur during and after computer use.

What can be done to reduce stress to eyes ?

1) Doctors recommend anti-glare glasses to reduce the strain on eyes
2) Eye-lubricants are advised for workers who work long durations in front of computers. These eye-lubricants are easily available as OTC drugs and don’t need prescription from the doctor.
3) Simple eye exercises should be done along with improvement in diet so as to get normal dose of vitamin A for healthy eyes
4) Doctors also recommend anti-glare filters.
5) Improvement of ergonomics while using computer can go a long way in helping reduce stress on eyes and other body parts. It should be ensures that computer screen is positioned at a proper height.
6) It is also advised that people shouldn’t continuously stare at computer monitors instead focus on other things which are far off thus giving frequent breaks to eyes.

Dont ignore that pain – Talk to a Doctor – Seek Second Opinion

Recently a very close relative in our family passed away cause of multiple organ failure. Deceased was extremely young ( in his early 30s) which showcases the things that we ignore at times shouldn’t be ignored. Any signal that the body gives should be taken seriously and listened to. Body is like a machine with many parts operating in sync with each other. Even when one of the parts malfunction some sort of screaching sound or some sort of pain is experienced in one part or the other part.

This young man had been complaining of some minor pain just above his waist for past couple of months but no one knew what is happening inside his body and the pain was not that severe. As a result family ignored the same until when the signals became stronger and he started having fever. Even later when he fell ill – for 10 continuous days he was treated with medicines for various ailments that are seasonal like flu, viral or even dengue and malaria. Doctor in his town wasn’t able to diagnose the problem in his body. Fever was coming on and off for at-least couple of weeks.

Finally someone impressed upon the family that a second opinion is required and the patient was rushed to another specialist in Chandigarh where he was asked to get a number of tests done to diagnose the root cause of his illness. Upon looking at the reports doctor immediately asked the patient to get admitted in emergency ward of a major hospital in Chandigarh. But things had gotten out of control by the time he was admitted to critical care.

This extensive suffering could have been avoided if the local emergency department and family physicians, instead of assuming his symptoms to be typical of the viral or dengue from which he was suffering, had stopped to ask ‘what else could this be?’ He was later diagnosed to be suffering from well-described complications of kidney and liver. By the time he was admitted to the hospital his intestine had ruptured as it had lots of toxins in it and lever and kidneys had stopped functioning. Even after doing dialysis on every alternate day, doctors couldn’t revive any of his organs.

I am not saying that this is the case of a wrong diagnosis and blaming the doctor but such lives can be saved easily if we are a little bit careful with our bodies. Even OTC drug abuse ( Paracetamol ) has been known to affect liver. What does it take to talk to a doctor or take professional help. Now that things have become so advanced that you can talk to a professional doctor or even see a doctor and doctor can hear your heart beat through phone then what stops people from consulting that doctor. Moreover with every passing day technological advances in medical technology are letting doctors diagnose better and some doctors by virtue of their location are better informed about the changes in medicine then others.

RxOcean, is an initiative of doctors and other members of the community to help those patients whose lives have been impacted by missed or delayed diagnosis, to help clinicians around the world do the best job for their patients. RxOcean helps people take second opinion over the web and that too at a very nominal cost.

Obesity amongst Children in India

Obesity is not limited to adults instead it is rising at an alarming rate amongst Children. Health effects of childhood obesity can be both psychological and physiological. Childhood obesity can significantly increase the risk of a child developing depression; it can also result in early onset of obesity-related conditions seen in obese adults. Some of the conditions that are associated with obesity include diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, sleep apnoea and cancer etc.

Childhood obesity also increases likelihood of child growing into an obese adult. Research says that around 70% of obese children remain obese even when they grow up. As such, childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk of premature death as well as disability in adulthood.

The rising rate of childhood obesity is a warning sign that children not only need to learn healthy lifestyle practices, but they also need support from parents, teachers and their communities. It all starts with environmental changes and that can take place at all levels. Simple changes can make a big difference and over time they can help obese children lose weight and regain their health.

The most influential people in a young child’s life is his or her parents. An overweight child can benefit greatly from having the proper support at home. Parents can educate themselves and their children on healthier food choices. Simple behavioral modification helps children eat less and move more to lose weight and lower their BMI. Replace treats and soda with fruits and vegetables. Make exercise a fun part of the day that the family shares together. Limit time spent on TV, the Internet and video games and involve kids more in out door activities. Advertisement of Cadbury chocolate is apt in current times but chocolate shouldn’t be the reward for it else the whole purpose would be lost.

It’s important that the child isn’t put on a diet. Instead, focus on positive lifestyle changes that the whole family will follow. Promote acceptance and health rather than focusing on their weight or BMI. Set goals for the family and reward family members for their achievements.

Diabetes a result of our Food Preferences

Everyone is aware that India is at the cusp of a Diabetes Epidemic. A lot of effort needs to be put in by all individuals, government agencies and other health care bodies to address this major issue in front of us. But are we doing enough or in our schools, offices or at home? I think not. Still the same junk food is available in school canteens, office canteens. Even at homes, our kitchens are being invaded by noodles, colas, biscuits, namkeens etc.

Although an apple a day keeps doctor away was taught to all of us when we are young but we all have forgotten it and don’t prefer to have that apple. Instead we all prefer to have chat, samosa, pakoras or bhatura chola as evening snack. What has changed all of us? Although we all are aware of the ill effects of this but somehow ignore it to satisfy our taste buds. In fact when my kid started going to school guest lecture was that by a child nutritionist and she emphasized on food items that kids should avoid to keep problems like obesity and diabetes at bay (yes even children are suffering from Diabetes nowadays).

This lecture was organized by the school hoping to give some lesson to children and their parents. But later on the same school administration organized a fest and all the stalls in the fest just had plain junk food and no healthy food options et all. Anyway may be we can say that people in a party would like to enjoy their meals and satisfy their taste buds and not concentrate on the health foods but the same school also sent a Fast Food Chain’s 50% coupon in every kid’s almanac sending mixed signals. If that is the culture schools want to promote then how can Parents stop children from eating junk food.

Talking about offices, all the offices nowadays want to increase productivity of their workers but what exactly do people get in their canteens? Samosas, Burgers, Patties and other fried stuff. Does this stuff actually help office goers increase their efficiency? Does this food make people think fast after they have it or does it make them feel heavy and drowsy? I don’t think any of the office administration guy has ever thought about these issues. Why can’t offices do a complete makeover of their canteens and not only help their employees be more productive and efficient but at the same time also gain from increased productivity.

Is it just the laziness or attitude problem. I think some out of box thinking is required to solve these problems. No one can say that healthy snack options are expensive or are difficult to make or can’t be made available hygienically. I think some restaurants have started serving calorie counted meals but is that enough or does that require a mindset change of people. I am leaving readers of this blog with some unsolved questions and would love to hear from them their thoughts.