CHINESE NEW YEAR - BAD FOR YOUR EYES?

[22/01/2014]

It's that time again - Chinese New Year! If you are Chinese you will know what I mean!...

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It's that time again - Chinese New Year! If you are Chinese you will know what I mean!

It's the time for INDULGENCE in every sense of the word! Traditionally, it is a time of togetherness for the family and celebration and the welcoming of good tidings for the Lunar New Year! It is also a time where most of us would put on some inches around the waist line because over-eating becomes an indiscriminate practice. For those who are diabetic, this time of year could potentially be a slippery slope in terms of control of "sugar levels".

Diabetes is a condition whereby there is insufficient or resistance to the hormone insulin which is essential for the "usage" of glucose in our body. When this occurs, there is a build up of these sugar molecules in the blood stream which eventually causes damage to a whole host of organ systems.

Diabetes

 

With respect to the eyes, it can cause a variety of different problems but the most important would be diabetic retinopathy which refers to damage to the blood vessels of the retina resulting in bleeding, scarring, retinal detachment and even blindness!!

In this respect, excessive indulgence during this period of festivities (or any period for that matter) will wreak havoc with the "sugar levels" of a diabetic individual and this can have implications on the status of the blood vessels in the retina!

So it is important that we not only try to exercise some degree of control during this time (if we are diabetic) but to remember to get the eyes screened regularly for diabetic retinopathy. Early detection is key in preventing vision altering consequences!

 

Fireworks

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Another big thing during the Chinese New Year is fireworks! They are great to look at but we often forget that they can pose a danger particularly to young children who are not aware. In my line of work, I have seen numerous firework injuries to the eye and some serious enough to result in a total loss of the eye!!

Some precautions to take:

1) Do not shake sparklers at other people - often regarded as the safest fireworks, little do people know that sparklers burn at a very high temperature and can cause third degree burns

2) Never place fireworks in glass bottles or tin cans - the explosion can cause the containers to shatter and flying shrapnel can do a lot of harm!

3) Always supervise the young children with fireworks - they do not realize how dangerous it is and think that fireworks are toys

4) If a firework does not go off, stay away and douse it with water before disposing it

5) If an eye injury is suspected, never rub the eye. DO NOT put pressure on the eye ball - seek the attention of an eye specialist immediately!

Take care of yourselves people and enjoy this time of the year safely!! Happy New Year!