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Vision, Eye Health, and Water Quality

Bottled water contaminants

Good vision is essential to human life because it is our most relied upon sense. For some organisms, other senses such as hearing and smell are more important. Vultures and dogs have powerful senses of smell, and for dogs hearing is more acute than vision. For Homo-Sapiens, vision is precise and the other senses are more average. This reflects in the fact we are dependent on technology, have been using projectile weapons for a hundred thousand years, and the human hand-eye-brain connection is much more important for tracking and hunting prey than other developed senses.

As important as the eyes are, they are also the most easily damaged sensory organ. They are dependent on several cooperating mechanisms, such as the iris, lens, eyeball gelatin, and the optic nerve all working together harmoniously. Any flaw in any one of these can ruin the whole system. Complications to vision are caused by many things, ranging from birth defects, to old age, to traumatic damage, to disease, to individual genetics. It would be foolish to make a diagnosis based on one possible cause without also examining other factors. Doctors are really scientists, and they must be methodical and broad minded in making their assessments.

Physical trauma is the leading cause of severe eye damage, while the next is inherited impurities that worsen with old age. On the other hand, there are many progressive diseases, such as retinal bleeding and cataracts, which may be influenced by prolong exposure to toxic pollution from the air and water. There are also many bacteria or heavy metals that might be ingested from contaminated tap water that may have a negative effect on our vision and overall health in general.

Diabetes is a primarily genetic condition, but the health of a diabetic person is influenced heavily by proper diet and fluid intake. If the diabetic person eats the wrong foods, does not drink enough water, or takes in contaminated water, then the resulting poor health will increase the complications of diabetes. One type is called diabetic retinopathy, which affects 80 percent of all persons who have suffered from diabetes for more than ten years. Since the blood vessels in the eyes are very sensitive, they may be damaged by the over-accumulation of glucose that occurs with diabetic retinopathy. The best defense is maintaining good health, which in part means avoiding pollutants in food, drinking water, and the environment in general.

The eyes are vulnerable to hundreds of diseases, some of which may be born in water. A variety of bacteria and viruses cause conjunctivitis, including the common cold. Conjunctivitis is also called red eye, and involves the irritation of the outer eye and membrane of the eyelid. It can also be caused by chemicals getting into the eyes, such as taking a shower with contaminated water. Otherwise, the responsible bacteria might be present in the water, and enter the eye through bathing or more rarely through drinking. In the case of influenza, drinking untreated water can cause a general infection, which can then also spread to the eyes.

Drinking and bathing water may contain harmful contaminants which can degrade eye health and your vision slowly over time. There are many toxins found in modern water sources and in addition to other health effects, the eyes might be a victim in varying degrees. While water quality is not a major cause of eye injury, it is still important to remember that exposure to contaminated water may have long term consequences on the health of your eyes and vision.