The eyes are arguably one of the most important parts of the human body and experience. They provide us with perspective, dazzle by translating color, and allow us the explore environments like no other sense can. Unfortunately, as we age, eyes can weaken in ways that limit how we see the world around us.
Fortunately, there are simple habits to take up that slow down or prevent eye degeneration. They are easily integrated into a daily or weekly routine, and go a long way to help improve eye health.
Practice Healthy Eating Habits
There are two primary ways a person can improve eye health through healthy eating: targeted intake of certain nutrients and general diet maintenance.
Studies indicate that antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin actively reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration—both of which often occur with aging.
These two antioxidants are popularly found in leafy green vegetables, including:Spinach, Collard greens, Kale, Broccoli and Lettuce.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are not the only nutrients proven to have a positive effect on eye health. Both vitamin C and vitamin E provide valuable repair building blocks for the eyes. Vitamin C is similar to lutein and zeaxanthin, and Vitamin E has the ability to strengthen tissue, including eye tissue.
Foods high in vitamin C include, Oranges, Strawberries, Brussels sprouts, Grapefruit and Green peppers. Food items boasting high amounts of vitamin E include, Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Wheat germ oil, Pecans and Vegetable oils.
Additionally, an overall healthy variety of food helps to prevent the onset of obesity. With obesity comes the risk of diabetes, one of the leading causes of blindness in adults. Targeted nutrient intake is valuable to helping your eyes individually, but holistic body health is key to keep all body systems functioning.
Daily Eye Care
Eye health is also improved through adjusting everyday actions people take at work, home, and when they are out and about. Knowing how to handle technology is key.
For many people, eye strain from staring at a computer for too long is a risk. Unfortunately, an incredible number of jobs require their employees to sit behind a computer screen for hours on end. What’s great for the company may not be great for individual employees, though at the same time it’s unavoidable for many industries.
Outside of work, people compound their screen time by smartphone, TV, and personal computer use at home. Staring at screens for too long and without regular interruption can lead to the following:
- Dry eye and various dry eye symptoms
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty focusing at a long distance
- General eyestrain
- Persistent headaches
Though staring at screen may be unavoidable for most people, there are ways to reduce negative side effects. First, consider incorporating the “20/20/20” rule. After every 20 minutes of staring at a computer screen, look somewhere that’s 20 feet away and stare there for at least 20 seconds.
Consider using glasses that diminish screen glare and intensity. Such glasses are often found at a general eye care vendor. There’s a simple treatment for dry eye at the office: increased blinking. It may feel unnatural at first, but it’s a key, natural,way to help moisten eyes after staring at a screen for too long. Blink fully. Squeeze the eyes tight for 10 seconds. This will help release the natural oils in the glands that help to stabilize the tear layer. Use artificial tears to lubricate and protect the surface of the eye. Look for natural tears and avoid products for redness relief.
Outdoor Eye Protection
Maintaining healthy eyes shouldn’t be a chore or major source of stress, especially when outside having fun. Wear sunglasses whenever outdoors in the daytime. Sunglasses should block 100 % of UV rays and about 85% of visible light.
Protection is the key to keeping outdoor (or even indoor) recreation as entertaining as it should be. Many sports and outdoor activities require protective eyewear already. Use them when outside for extended periods of time.
There are many different tints that may enhance sports such as golf, hiking, and biking. Wrap wrap around styles protect the eyes by preventing glare coming in from the sides. People who drive often should also consider polarized sunglasses lenses to reduce driving glare.
For heavy-duty team sports, protective glasses – like any protective gear – is an absolute must. Protective eyewear is mandatory for contact sports such as lacrosse, racquetball, ice hockey, and are still a smart idea for lower-impact activities. Impact to they eye can lead to sight threatening injuries. Wearing the proper glasses for your activity can enhance your vision while protecting your sight.
Luckily, maintaining and protecting eye health does not require a total change in everything about your life. Doing so, instead, requires integrating a few simple, manageable life habits. For any questions about holistic eye care or eye health, consider reaching out to a Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center expert. We’re happy to hear from you.