Somebody sent me a YouTube link to a video showing Paul McCartney of Beatles fame talking about “eye yoga.” McCartney said he had learned in India that “exercising” your eyeballs by moving them up and down, back and forth, on the diagonal, and close and far several times a day can greatly improve eyesight. Some people can even stop wearing glasses.
I am a 55-year-old man who recently started wearing reading glasses. I looked and saw many others discuss eye yoga on the Internet as well. Does it really help, at least somewhat? Do these exercises pose any dangers?
R.B., Kiryat Motzkin
Prof. Jacob Pe’er, chairman of the ophthalmology department at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, replies:
I’m aware of these so-called exercises, but in the ophthalmologists’ community we do not recommend them, since there is no proof that they help. They probably will not do any harm, but they are probably a waste of time. I am not sure, though, whether they have ever been researched scientifically.
My baby is 10 months old and teething. She is getting very little sleep and crying a lot. She doesn’t have fever, but I gave her Nurofen drops to relieve the pain. A friend recommended putting a coral necklace around her neck. She claimed she had bought one and that it had helped. They are sold on the Internet, and the companies claim that they produce “mild magnetism,” which has been found to have the potential to reduce the kind of pain that accompanies teething. If this is nonsense, what do you recommend to relieve the pain of teething?
Prof. Yona Amitai, a pediatrician and Bar-Ilan University toxicologist who formerly headed the Health Ministry’s department of infant, child and maternal health, comments:
Teething can certainly cause disquiet, salivation, drooling and pain in infants. Not every baby reacts the same way. Some may have soft stools and maybe a little fever. It could last for days or even longer – or only a few hours. A child will not get a fever of 39° due to teething, but it can be lower. A few years ago, there was a study at the Rabin Medical Center- Beilinson Campus on fever in young children. They found that if the baby was teething, there was usually some fever of around 38°. I suggest that if the teething is really bothering her even after you’ve given her (to massage her gums) a silicone ring filled with liquid that can be frozen to relieve pain, you can give topical analgesics in the form of a bit of gel on the gums. Don’t automatically give paracetamol (Acamol) or ibuprofen (Nurofen) when a baby is teething, but only if it is necessary.
Prof. Francis Mimouni, head of the neonatalogy baby unit at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, adds: Babies should not be wearing necklaces! The evidence behind the risk of choking to death from such a necklace is incomparably better than that of the “curative” effects of amber. The claims made by the amber industry have no scientific basis, and it is irresponsible for parents to follow such ridiculous nonsense. They would be better off investing their money in a college fund.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, giving your initials, age and place of residence.