OVERSTRAIN is injurious to every structure and every organ. This applies not only to the human body but to every piece of machinery. If one runs an engine too fast, if one tries to get the utmost power out of a motorcar, etc., then there is overstrain and injury, and occasionally destruction results.
The human organs and structures are influenced by the factors mentioned to a considerable extent. Runners, climbers, wrestlers, can stand only a certain amount of strain; if overstrain takes place, then the heart may get permanently enlarged or the lungs may give way, etc.
The eyes are among the most sensitive organs of the human body, yet on the eyes most people put needless strain, disregarding the fact that their power is not limitless.
Before the War, thousands of people strained their eyes and injured them permanently by over-strong light, which is very hurtful to the eyes, by peering and straining to read print which was insufficiently clear. There are people who have the unfortunate habit of continuing to read when the light is failing, who are, in fact, quite proud that they can read in the half-light.
In innumerable cases, people with eye-strain go to the oculist or optician and are given glasses which, as a rule, are unnecessary and are even harmful. Eyes which are over-strained can be normalized by rest and proper exercises, which however, are too detailed to describer in this article. There are exercises which can benefit the short-sighted, the far-sighted, inflamed eyes, over-strained eyes, and exercises which would benefit those who are affected by cataract, glaucoma, iritis, etc. The duty of protecting the eyesight is particularly essential in he present terrible times.
Before the War we were exposed to unreasonable glare and the complaint of the eyes that the light was too strong for them was disregarded. Some people are foolish enough to protect themselves against the natural sunlight by wearing dark glasses, to their hurt. One might write a special article on the evils of wearing dark glasses, which unfortunately have become more and more fashionable during the holiday season.
While over-strong glare is harmful, very serious injury is, on the other hand, being done at present by the necessity for insufficient lighting. Light must not only be dimmed, but in many cases be extinguished, and we have to group our way in Egyptian darkness and we try to read the street names and the names or umbers of houses by peering and by straining our eyes to the utmost.
It is the duty and should be the principle of every man, woman and child not to strain their eyes at the present time more than they can possibly help, not to read when they cannot do so easily and naturally, without strain. Or, if slight strain is absolutely necessary, then the eyes should be rested by blinking and by closing them for a moment. This refreshes them, strengthens them and enables them to do better work if they are called upon to do so.
Over-strained eyes very frequently get hot and inflamed looking. people who are suffering from hot and inflamed eyes may bathe them in cold water. Sometimes cold water is best, but other times hot water. When the eyes are inflamed, it is very helpful to splash them twenty to thirty of fifty times with warm water, alternating with cold water; this will vastly improve their condition.
THERE are many doctors and surgeons, among them Sir Arbuthnot Lane, who attribute most diseases to chronic constipation and self-poisoning from the bowel. At the risk of being considered one-sided we venture to assert that most eye troubles, whatever their name may be, are due to strain.
People who suffer from eye-strain may consult the chemist and relieve the discomfort they feel with eye drops, or they may go to an optician of oculist. The optician or oculist will test the eye of the patient and prescribe suitable glasses which will assist the weakening and overstrained eye to see more or less normally.
The sufferer is very pleased with the effect of the glasses but as he has not been told that it is dangerous to overstrain the eye, he will continue to overstrain it, with the result that in due course the glasses, which have given so much comfort, are more or less useless and then stronger glasses will be given. From year to year stronger glasses will have to be used and at last the patient will find his eye-sight very gravely deteriorated or he may be told that he suffers from one of the numerous eye disease, which are due, directly or indirectly, to overstrain.