The eye health may not be something that you think about on a regular basis. You know not to poke it but do you consider how your diet or your lifestyle can affect it? It is possible that you won’t think about it until you start to lose your vision or have other health problems.
Well, now is the perfect time to start thinking about your eye health. The things you do in your 20s and 30s will have a full effect on what happens in your 60s and 70s. You can prevent numerous eye problems and help to save your vision for retirement and beyond.
Here’s all you need to know about how to keep your eye healthy. We’ll list the dos and don’ts to help improve your health.
DO EAT PLENTY OF LUTEIN AND BETA CAROTENE
It’s time to look at the nutrients that you get from your food. We’re not saying that you have to give up on chocolate and refined sugar, but we are saying that it’s best to cut down on them. You want to get more food that has lutein and beta-carotene. These are two types of proteins that are essential for the eye health.
You may have heard that carrots will help you see in the dark. Well, while they don’t give you night vision they do improve your eyesight because of the beta carotene in them. Anything orange will have beta carotene, but carrots are the best.
Lutein has been proven scientifically to help reduce the chances of developing cataracts and macular degeneration disease. If you do develop them or have started to develop them – some eye diseases can start in your 40s – then getting more lutein can help to stall the development of them. You can keep most of your vision and prevent expensive eye appointments.
You can get both of these in apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, and even butter – real butter, not margarine!
DO GET PLENTY OF VITAMINS A AND C
Like with the beta-carotene and lutein, you want to add more vitamins A and C to your diet.
Let’s start with vitamin A. This is the vitamin that supports the repair of your cells. Your eyes have cells, just like the rest of your body. They become damaged, and they will die naturally. What you want to do is boost your intake of vitamin A to make sure that the cells repair well and grow back without damage. The vitamin A will also help to protect the other tendons and ligaments within the eye.
As for the vitamin C, this will help to boost your cell repair too. It also boosts your immune system. There are infections and diseases that will affect the quality of your eye health. If you can keep them at bay, you will stand a better chance of protecting your eyesight.
Like the lutein and beta-carotene, eating apricots and sweet potatoes will help. You can also get them from oranges, lemons, blueberries, and grapes.
DO EXERCISE YOUR EYE MUSCLES NOW AND THEN
Your eyes have muscles. Like any other muscle in your body, the eye muscles will need strengthening and supporting. You don’t just do this through the food that you eat, but also through the exercise that you do.
We’re not talking about hanging kettlebells from your eyelids! It’s important to do light exercises, including numerous facial exercises. Not only will you protect your vision but you can reduce the signs of aging around the eyes, including avoiding wrinkles later in life.
All you need to do is place rub the palms of your hands together for heat and then place them over your eyes. Take your mind to a relaxing place and allow the heat to work into the muscles.
You can also place your fingers at the outside edges of your eyes and gently move them in a circle. You’ll feel the muscles around your eyes getting pulled and stretched. If you experience any pain, stop right away.
DO GET MORE ANTIOXIDANTS
Another nutrient that you want to get more of is antioxidants. There are various ways that you can benefit from antioxidants, especially with the eye health.
The first is the protection for your immune system. It gets extra support to fight off various illnesses and diseases that your body is faced with. This instantly helps to support the eye health. If the rest of your body is healthy, the eyes don’t have to lose fluid or strain through diminishing energy levels.
The second benefit is for any infections or diseases that may affect your eyes directly – along with injuries that your eyes may face. Antioxidants will help the body fight off the more localized infections, preventing them from getting any worse.
The third way you benefit is through better blood circulation. Antioxidants help to widen blood vessels and promote more oxygenated blood around your body. This means your muscles get the extra oxygen, along with the cells within your eyes.
Finally, you get the support for the cells in the eyes. The body will find it easier to fight off free radicals, preventing damage to any repairing or growing cells.
DO EAT PLENTY OF DARK GREEN LEAFY GREENS
You’ll hear a lot that you need to eat more dark leafy greens. They are among the most powerful foods for all your nutrient needs. I wish there were something that looked more appealing!
Get more Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, and broccoli in your diet to put your eyes first. You’ll get the vitamin A and C that we’ve already mentioned, along with calcium, zinc, and magnesium. Each of these minerals helps to support the muscle and bone health. They fight against diseases and support the immune system throughout the day.
If you don’t fancy eating the greens, you can always add them to a green smoothie. This can help to get rid of some of the bitterness while getting more fluids into your diet.
DO MAKE SURE YOU SLEEP ENOUGH
While you need to exercise, your eyes will also need rest. This is a part of the body that is always working until you close your eyes! The eye muscles work throughout the day, as you try to focus on everything going on in the world. The muscles have to relax and tense while changing the distance that you’re looking.
If you ever feel tired, like your eyes are trying to shut, then you need to consider taking a break. Don’t try to force your eyes to keep working. Just a 10-minute power nap will be enough to give your eyes a bit of a break.
Those who struggle to sleep at night will need to consider ways to help the mind shut down. Try meditation to help calm the mind and take your imagination to another place. With your eyes closed, they get the relaxation they need because there is nothing for them to focus on.
DO MAKE SURE YOU DRINK ENOUGH FLUIDS
Your eyes need hydration. If they get dehydrated, you will find they’re itchy and painful – and rubbing them will just make things worse. It’s up to you to drink enough throughout the day to make sure the eyes get all the water they need.
Dry eyes can lead to future problems. Your eye muscles must work harder without the support, and you run the risk of developing various infections. The eyes are unable to remove irritants naturally, so you run the risk of ulcers and damage to the cornea.
If you drink plenty but still struggle to keep your eyes moist, you will need to look into artificial tears/eye drops. Your eye doctor will be able to prescribe some, but there are over the counter options that can work. Read the labels, especially if you wear contact lenses. Some of the drops can be used while wearing contacts and others will need to be used before or after wearing them.
Eye drops can be used throughout the summer when the body struggles to retain fluid. They can also help to ease dry eye conditions because of the use of contact lenses – the lenses will soak up any moisture within your eyes.
You will find your eyes get dehydrated faster if you are tired or if you’ve overused them. Rest and then see what the fluid levels are like.
DO FOLLOW THE 20/20/20 RULE
You may have heard of the 20/20/20 rule but not quite what it is exactly. Every 20 minutes, you should look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
This is something that we tend to overlook when protecting our eye health. We’re focused so much on the computer screen at work, which isn’t good for the eyes at all. Set a timer for every 20 minutes so that you find an object that is 20 feet away. It can be further if you want but 20 feet is the optimum distance.
You’re not missing out on much for 20 seconds. It’s not just your eyes that will thank you. Your brain health will also benefit, as you give yourself a break and time to recollect your thoughts. Your boss will barely even realize that you take this time off.
DON’T KEEP WORKING WITHOUT A BREAK
If you don’t follow the 20/20/20 rule, then at least take regular breaks from the activity that you’re on. Step away from the computer screen and spend 5-10 minutes doing something completely different. You could even just close your eyes and rest them for this time.
Rest is essential. We’ve already mentioned how this will help to support your eye health. Like any other part of your body, if you push your eyes too much they will work against you. You’ll find they hurt and you could end up with regular headaches – the muscles and nerves are all connected.
DON’T STARE INTO LIGHT
When you are looking for an object for the 20/20/20 rule or when exercising, avoid looking directly at the light. It doesn’t matter if it’s natural or artificial light. Letting too much in will damage the nerves and the cells.
You will feel a burning sensation if you look at the light for too long. Close your eyes and give the pupils a chance to rest.
If you use a lot of gadgets, don’t have the brightness too high. Your eyes will get used to the lower brightness levels, and the eyes don’t strain as much to avoid too much light getting in.
DON’T WEAR YOUR GLASSES ALL THE TIME
You don’t need to wear your glasses for every minute of the day. While there will be sometimes that they are a must – and even a legal requirement – you will be able to find times of the day that they can be removed. If you wear contacts, carry your case around with you so that you can easily remove them now and then.
Wearing your glasses helps to reduce some of the strain on your eye to focus on elements close to you or far away. However, your muscles will need to do some work now and then. There are also times that your muscles need to relax, as looking at the wrong distance with your glasses can put extra strain on them.
Do get your eyes checked regularly. If you find your corrected vision is blurry, it’s a sign that you need a stronger prescription.
DON’T EAT TOO MUCH SUGARY FOOD
Sugary food, especially refined sugary food, is bad for you. It’s not just bad for your overall health but also for your eye health. There are links that show high sugar levels lead to poor eyesight.
Those with diabetes are more likely to develop eye problems later in life. This is due to the insulin response and the way that the metabolism is affected by it.
We’re not saying cut out all sugar. Just think carefully about whether you need it. If you are a diabetic, make an effort to keep your sugar levels within a healthy range. This isn’t just important to keep your diabetes under control, but it will also help to reduce the risk of developing glaucoma and macular degeneration disease later in life.
I know you’ve likely heard this advice a lot. Your doctor will tell you for your lung and heart health all the time. There’s no denying that smoking is linked to cancer.
But did you know that smoking is also linked to the deterioration of the eye health? Those who smoke are at a higher risk of developing various eye diseases, including cataracts and macular degeneration. Optic nerve damage is also a common problem for those who smoke.
MAKE CHANGES TO KEEP YOUR EYE HEALTHY
Put your eye health first as much as you can. This is more than just getting your eyes checked regularly – although this will help. Make sure you follow a diet that gives you plenty of nutrients to keep your cells, nerves, and muscles supported. You don’t have to do a lot to protect your eye health. Most changes are easily added to your everyday lifestyle.