RX for Readers: Can we practice our eyesight to perfection?

Readers get answers for their medical and health queries.

Eyesight (illustrative) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Eyesight (illustrative)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
My 10-year-old daughter was just diagnosed by an eye doctor as needing glasses (-1), as she has been having trouble seeing the board recently. I have heard that there are eye exercises that can strengthen the muscles that hold the lens in the eye and can improve sight or at least slow the decline. Is there any truth in this? If so, what are the exercises, and how long does one have to do them to have any effect? I.M., Petah Tikva
Dr. David Varssano, head of the cornea clinic at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, answers:
Unfortunately, eye exercises have not been proven effective in improving eyesight. I suggest that you buy your daughter nice glasses – letting her choose the frames she prefers – and give her the message that they’re fine and that there’s no reason to be ashamed of them.
I am a 45-year-old man. I saw an advertisement for Weleda toothpaste based on salt. It claims that salt in toothpaste protects against plaque and gum disease and keeps teeth clean and healthy. I have a bleeding gum problem. Would salt toothpaste help treat this or would it be useless or even harmful? Or would it be just as good to gargle with salt water on a daily basis? V.N., Modi’in
Prof. Jonathan Mann, head of the community dentistry department at the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, answers:
Many toothpastes available today do include salt as a major ingredient. There is no doubt – salt has been proven effective as a product both as a prevention and as a cure for gum diseases. Among these toothpastes are Parodontax and Yama, which has salt from the Dead Sea.
So rinsing with saltwater is fine, but it is not sufficient. Brushing with a salt toothpaste is much more effective, yet those who have periodontal disease might need other aids for prevention and or a cure.
We have an 11-month-old baby girl. Until now, she has been with us in our bedroom, as I breastfed her and took care of her at home. We were always quiet when she slept in our room. Now she is with a baby carer and we moved her to our three-year-old son’s bedroom. The room is dark, but any time there is a little noise, she wakes up. Because she has trouble sleeping in a room with the other children, the carer puts her to sleep alone in a dark room.
Is there any way to get her used to sleeping with some noise and where it isn’t totally dark? R.L., Jerusalem
Prof. Giora Pillar, director of the sleep laboratory at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and head of the pediatrics department at Carmel Medical Center, replies:
The ability to sleep is a combination of personal and personality characteristics, along with acquired environmental habits. This second influence is the main one under our control and influence.
By staying in a room with other children, she will sleep in a room that is not completely quiet or completely dark. She will then be able to learn better sleeping habits and gradually develop the ability to sleep under these conditions. Do not have her isolated alone in a dark room or she will become used to these conditions and demand them. Good luck.
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 9100002, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or e-mail it to jsiegel@jpost.com, giving your initials, age and place of residence.