Eye, Me & Myself

Me with my new glasses

The misadventures of the new smartphone generation: Admit it – we are all suffering from the inescapable ‘Digital Eye Syndrome.’

For a soul who was constantly on a laptop for close to 10-12 hours everyday, and at times even more, it was natural to have my eyes affected badly. To add to that, I never spared them even after getting away from the laptop; I continued to consume absolute trash on my smartphone, further torturing the windows to my soul.

There came a time when my eyesight could be best described as looking at the world through a butter paper. The same clarity reflected in my life vision. “Where am I going?, Why can’t I see my future?, What is the meaning to this digital existence?” I had over-fatigued my eyes and it would be in good faith for their sake alone, to undertake remedial action straightaway before I spiral gradually and permanently towards blindness.

I began accounting my time on screens, both laptop and smartphone. Realizing it was way too much for two little eyes in a 24-hour cycle, I made quick changes. Apart from work related reading, I restricted screen time to the absolutely necessary only. But, one can never get away in this digital age – there’s always a screen near you!

I also visited the eye doctor and he wasn’t interested in listening to the symptoms – blurred vision [check], double vision [check], pain in the eyes [check], pain in the head [check], pain in the … [ok, never mind!] He was just proceeding with different types of eye tests, all the while nodding at the symptoms that are now generic, not just restricted to the IT workers.

“No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.”

The fact that you are finally able to book an appointment with him, in the next month, with Lady Luck favouring you over countless weak-sighted others, is a milestone of an achievement. Getting through to Kaun Banega Crorepati is way easier, I tell you!

A poster on his entrance extolled the virtues of eye donation, quite teasingly. I went back in, after having been diagnosed with a bad case of the Digital eye, and both long and near-sightedness, and asked in all innocence, “I am not eligible to donate my eyes, right?” “Wrong! Even a blind person can donate their eyes as long as their cornea is healthy, just ensure you (rather your corpse) is taken to the nearby government hospital within four hours of death.”

This immediately got noted down in my ‘Did you know?’ list.

Talking about interesting facts, the lady before me was asked to visit again after an HIV test. I was more embarrassed than her to hear the doctor’s assistant yell out the name of the government AIDS testing center. For a moment, I was quite muddled: Am I visiting an eye doctor or what? So it seems that STDs also affect the functioning of the eyes. One more to jot down in my ‘Did you know?’ list.

Now I look at the bright side of things. Because after all, “No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.” I could get scarlet fever and go blind. I could get meningitis and go blind. In all likelihood, I could have an evil kid poke a pencil into my eyes, and cause blindness, not to mention severe shock and bleeding, too!

I indulge in eye exercises, these are all over the internet and that’s the irony of it! I meditate, the side effect of which is restoration of the eye and nasal muscles. I also give them adequate rest – you see they are your precious pair after all – the windows to your soul.

They say hindsight is always 20:20. Looking back now, I see many things I could have done differently. In fact, I have a growing list of things I’d like to tell my 18-year-old self, the time since I have been staring at a computer monitor. So, I caution my nieces, my friends and other folks to ration their screen time. Also, anti-glare screens and glasses do not make much of a difference.

Eye exercises, vitamin A-enriched foods and adequate rest are the only three  weapons in your arsenal. Save your eyes, save your world in this digital age!

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