When and how often should we go to the ophthalmologist?
Dr Güell stressed the importance of prevention from the moment the eye starts to develop: "During the years of vision development, up to the age of 8, it is essential for the child to visit the ophthalmologist to find out if a visual problem exists and to have it corrected before vision is fully developed."
"People with healthy vision, from the age of 30 or 40, should go to the ophthalmologist every 5 years to check that everything is correct. Around the age of 40, most people start to have vision problems."
Dr Güell clearly explained with simple examples the most common conditions that affect the eye, such as strabismus and refractive errors like myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia and lazy eye. He stressed the importance of prevention campaigns for eye health to raise awareness among the general public, especially children, and recalled the campaign that IMO had recently carried out.
How should we look after our eyes?
During the programme, viewers sent in their questions for Dr Güell. Here are some of his answers to common questions about eye health and prevention of eye disorders.
Does working in front of a computer screen cause vision problems?
This is a much discussed topic, and the answer is basically no. The main problem, similar to night driving, is that it stops people blinking at a normal physiological rhythm. As a result, it causes dry eye, because the eye is not sufficiently lubricated. To prevent dryness when using a computer, it is important to remember to blink normally or to apply artificial tears.
What about watching TV at night? Is it best to watch in darkness or with the light on?
In terms of eye health, it does not really matter. There is no need to turn on lots of lights. Like with reading, one is enough.
Is it recommended to use those standard prescription glasses that are sold at the chemist’s?
As long as they are comfortable, they are fine, but it does depend on each case. They will not damage vision, but as they are based on a standard prescription, they will not suit everyone.
When you get something in your eye, the advice is normally to rub the other eye. Is that the right thing to do?
That saying is based on a good principle of eye protection. The idea is to make the eyes produce tears so that the particle can come out by itself. What should never be done is scratch the affected eye. And if a caustic substance gets into the eye, it is essential to wash it thoroughly with abundant water under a tap or with a hose. Then go to the ophthalmologist.
Are myopia and astigmatism operations risky?
All operations involve some inherent risk. What is also true, however, is that the risk depends on the type of operation, and those that are used to correct myopia and astigmatism are not the most risky. Surgery normally involves a laser, but we also operate with other instruments. Age is an important factor in determining the most appropriate type of operation for the patient. It is possible to operate on patients of all ages, but we sometimes advise patients to wait until the next age decade to ensure the correction will last longer.
Can wearing contact lenses 24 hours a day for 8 years lead to problems?
Definitely. The cornea is designed to be in contact with the air so that it remains oxygenated. Wearing contact lenses for too many hours prevents the cornea from breathing and should be avoided. However, they still remain a practical option for many people.
Over which dioptre value are patients recommended to have myopia surgery?
In most cases, refractive surgery is an operation of choice. People can choose whether to wear glasses or contact lenses, or have surgery. It is all relative and depends on how much the myopia bothers the patient. It is really quite subjective.
You can see the full interview here: