Driving and eye strain: Take good care of your eyes

Take good care of your eyes
Take good care of your eyes

Long hours at work and constant use of electronic gadgets hamper one’s visual capabilities. It has been clinically proven that overuse of digital devices has a tremendous impact on your eyesight, with a tendency of developing short-sightedness or near-sightedness (Myopia). With increasing strain on the eyes, there is also a likeliness of facing difficulty while driving, especially during the nighttime. Poor eyesight can endanger one’s life and the risk of driving with visual disparity may be a cause of concern.

Some of the signs of eye strain are:

  • Sore, tired, burning or itching eyes
  • Watery or dry eyes
  • Sore neck, shoulders or back
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

Our eyes are constantly in motion, focusing on objects that approach, oncoming headlights or the glare of the rising or setting sun; acknowledging the above signs should be considered as a sign of caution. Implementing preventive steps to avoid risks associated while driving, is the first in line proactive option to avoid any uncertainty.

Here are a few points which need to be kept in mind:

Turn down the Air Conditioner: It has been established that air conditioners reduce humidity and cause evaporative dryness in the eye, a common environmental cause for dry eyes. When the air vent is directed to your face it can disturb the Lipid layer of the eye. Once the lipid layer is disrupted, there can be a loss of excess moisture, resulting in dryness. Hence, keeping the air condition low and directed away from your face can help you avoid this issue.

Protective Eye-Wear: Protective or anti-glare eyewear can help protect your eyes from blurred visions; bright sunlight, looking straight into headlights of oncoming traffic, focusing on one object for an extended period of time etc. In bright conditions, wearing sunglasses will also prevent your eyes from harmful UV rays, which can otherwise damage the sensitive cells of the eyes.

Stay Hydrated: Consuming sufficient amounts of water or other liquids during the day is not only helpful for your eyes but can help you maintain concentration levels while driving. 

Take a break & time your drive well: Take a break every couple of hours for about 15 minutes and make sure you don’t start a long trip if you’re already tired. This can help your eyes rest, and also help to give you time to regain attentiveness. 

Refresh your eyes: Eye drops can help lower the irritation in the eyes. Focusing on a particular object for a long time can result in a dramatic reduction of how many times you blink your eye. The lesser you blink, the more your eyes get dry and irritated. To resolve this concern, you can use eye drops to refresh your eyes and to reduce itchiness in the eyes.

It is thus important to maintain your eye health in order to reduce any type of vision-related problems in future. Be sure to consult your doctor if there is the elevation of any symptom associated with your eyesight.

Inputs by Dr Palanisamy Suresh, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund