A Letter From: Your Eyes

by AASHI PATEL

Hi there! This is going to sound absurd, but it’s me, your Eyes. Yes, you read correctly.

This is a letter from your Eyes.

Now before you go all technical and say Eyes cannot speak or write, let alone communicate (well, that’s a matter of opinion on the communication bit; some folks say Eyes are the portal to the soul), we wanted to have a candid conversation with you. Believe it or not, you only have one pair of Eyes (us) to work with for the rest of your life. As obvious as that fact sounds, we wanted to make sure you understand how to take care of us moving forward.

I can already feel us rolling, but let’s get straight to the facts.

It’s midnight and you are struggling to finish the essay that you’ve been procrastinating on. As you stare at your computer screen for hours, you are damaging your Eyes without even realizing it. Your computer emits a certain wavelength of light around 450-495 nanometers. This range of blue wavelengths has the ability to travel to a region in the back of the eye and damage the light sensitive cells located there. This can lead to a condition called macular degeneration, which can result in permanent vision loss if enough light-sensitive cells are damaged. Don’t use this as an excuse to skip writing that essay though, as a condition like such can be avoided by moderating screen time. [1-2]

Eye Health 2 - UCLA Total Wellness.jpeg

After an extremely long night of cranking out that essay, you fall asleep on your bed. Now let me ask you, when was the last time you changed your sheets? A study examining bacteria on pillows found that various colonies can breed and grow on pillow surfaces over just one year. Anything that comes into contact with your face and eyes can be a potential source of eye infection. Thus, a common rule of thumb is to wash your pillow sheets at least once a month to maintain good eye health. [3]

The next morning comes around and you realize your Eyes are extremely dry and your vision is better than it normally is when you wake up. It suddenly strikes you: you fell asleep with your contact lenses on! This is one of the most detrimental, amateur mistakes. Just as your phone needs to be charged everyday, your Eyes also require proper care. Sleeping with contacts on can lead to the lenses tightening on your cornea due to lack of moisture, causing microtears and increased risks of eye infections. It can also reduce the amount of oxygen flow that your Eyes receive, affecting sensitive tissues. [4, 5]

As you get out of bed to start your day, you might find yourself rubbing your Eyes due to lack of sleep. However, beware! Your hands contain a lot of bacteria and other contaminants that can affect your eye health. Therefore, we suggest that you wash your hands as often as possible and avoid touching your Eyes. [7]

On your walk to campus, the sun might start to get in your Eyes. In California, more often than not, it is extremely sunny outside. Your Eyes and many health professionals recommend wearing a pair of sunglasses to help protect your Eyes from the harmful UV rays. Not only will you protect your Eyes, but you also will have a stylish accessory. [8, 9]

Now that your classes have finished and all on-campus commitments have been cleared, you decide to head back to your dorm or apartment. You are feeling hungry, so you stop by the dining hall or whip up something from your fridge. Your Eyes hope your choice of meal includes a lot of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a compound that helps to strengthen and maintain eyesight. It can be found in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots, all of which contain Beta-Carotene, a precursor for Vitamin A. [10,11]

What was that sound? Your phone has just dinged with a text notification. It’s your friend and she wants to go out tonight. One night out can’t hurt, right? While you get glammed up, keep in mind that eye makeup is one of the biggest culprits for eye infections. The average eyeshadow should be thrown out every 3-6 months, and the average eyeliner should be discarded every 3 months. And of course, if you have had a recent eye infection, such Pink Eye or Stye, your Eyes kindly ask that you discard any eye products you may have. [12]

If we’re being candid, your Eyes know that alcohol may be your drink of choice as your evening progresses. Enjoying tonight might be the only thing on your mind, but it doesn’t hurt to be cautious of the long-term effects of alcohol on your vision. Consuming alcohol over extended periods of time can lead to cloudy formations called cataracts on your Eyes, and can also reduce the ability of your Eyes to respond to changing light conditions. So, your Eyes kindly ask you to drink responsibly and with precaution. [13]

As you can see (courtesy of us), there are many factors and aspects that you must consider when thinking about your Eyes. So please take care of us, even if it means just changing a few, small habits. As an insightful fortune cookie once said, “your future is bright!”, so Your Eyes just want you to make sure you see it in all its glory.


references

  1. “Blue Light: It’s Both Bad and Good for You” (allaboutvision.com). (2017).

  2. “Systematic Review of Mediators Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Screen Time in Adolescents” NCBI. Nurs Outlook. (2018).

  3. “Deadly Ecosystem in Your Pillow” (livescience.com). (2018).

  4. “What Does Sleeping in Contacts Do To Your Eyes” (health.clevelandclinic.org). (2018).

  5. “A Review of Contact Lens Infections”  NCBI. Eye (Lond.) (2018).

  6. “Understanding Your Contact Lens Prescription” (allaboutvision.com). (2016).

  7. “Show Me the Science: Why Wash Your Hands”  (cdc.gov). (2018).

  8. “Keeping Your Eyes Healthy: Wear Sunglasses” (nei.nih.gov). (2018).

  9. “Ultraviolet Radiation Oxidative Stress Affects Eye Health” NCBI.J Biophotonics. (2018).

  10. “Vitamin A Diet” (https://www.hindustantimes.com). (2018).

  11. “PWE-117 Vitamin A deficiency-not just a developing country problem” BMJ Gut. (2018).

  12. “Here’s Why You Should Stop Sharing Makeup” (westlakedermatology.com). (2017).

  13. “Alcohol’s Effect on Eye Health” (guardionhealth.com). (2018).

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