Natural Ways to Improve Eye Health
When we think about being healthy, we usually think of eating wholesome, organic foods and exercising. These things help us maintain a healthy weight, keep our bodies free from toxins, and even are great for heart health. However, we usually let smaller but equally important areas, like eyesight, fall to the wayside when we think about health.
The President of the American Optometric Association (AOA), said it best: “We are a profession that focuses on the functioning of the eye, but our vision is caring for the whole person.” The AOA sponsors Save Your Vision Month in March to help spread awareness on ways to easily improve eye health. Things that likely are already a part of your self-care routine can help improve your vision and you may not even know it!
Vision is directly tied to health, aging, and diseases. As you may know, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in America. However, you may not know that 142 million Americans over age 40 experience vision problems. These can be the cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or retinal damage from diseases like diabetes.
What many people don’t realize is that our vision can be improved naturally with:
- Preventative measures
Foods that help vision
Lutein and Zeaxanthin:
These nutrients that are essential for improving our vision are in many green vegetables. Lutein and Zeaxanthin can help improve eyesight by maintaining healthy cells in our retina, specifically improving AMD and other retinal damage. If these foods aren’t already part of your diet, consider integrating them into your daily meals.
Although there’s no recommended daily intake for these nutrients, the AOA recommends that 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin is a sufficient amount to help improve vision naturally.
Eat green vegetables and few other vegetables that are so good for your eyes:
- Green beans
- Collard greens
All of these healthy vegetables can help you hit your daily goal of Lutein and Zeaxanthin!
Vitamins A and C:
Foods that are high in Vitamins A and C are often the orange foods we have associated with helping vision since a young age.
Food such as:
- Sweet potatoes
Other Important foods that contain a lot vitamin A and C that should be included in your diet for eye health are:
- Dark greens
- Bell peppers
All these organic foods can help enhance your vision and are great additions to hit your recommended intake for these vitamins as well. Vitamins A and C help rebuild tissues all over the body and support our blood vessels. This is essential when it comes to avoiding AMD, retinal damage, and cataracts.
Avoid digital eye strain
Digital eye strain is a condition in which our eyes get tired, irritated, dry, or blurred due to the harmful effects of digital devices. Headaches and neck and shoulder pain have also been reported as symptoms. The Vision Council defined these symptoms in recent years as the use of devices increased and became a necessary part of our daily lives. Heavy screen users, smokers, children, and those with poor diets are amongst those at the greatest risk of the effects of harmful blue light emitted from our screens.
To help avoid digital eye strain, consider purchasing a new pair of eyeglasses equipped with blue light blocking lenses. These lenses can help block the blue light to help the wearer avoid any discomfort usually felt from extended use of their digital device. You can also practice sitting at least 25 cm away from your screen and keeping the brightness on your device to a low setting. Be sure to take regular breaks using the “20-20-20” rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Protect eyes from UV rays
Protecting your eyes from all UV rays is important to prevent blindness, AMD, cataracts, and corneal sunburn. These are all effects of not properly protecting your eyes from UV-A and UV-B rays, which usually come from the sun. Wearing sunglasses with at least 99% UV protection and a hat with a brim are great ways to avoid this damaging light. Even if you aren’t looking towards the sun, light reflects off of snow, water, and light-colored sand and that can be just as harmful as looking at the sun. Unfortunately, everyone is at risk for damage caused by UV rays, including children. So it’s extremely important to take the proper precautions all throughout our lives to help save our vision.
Just like the muscles of our body, the eyes need to be exercised to stay healthy. These types of exercises are especially great to give your eyes a break if you’ve been working on a computer for an extended period of time, reading, or have been outside in the sun. However, if you’re looking for ways to improve your vision and to prevent eye conditions, these are great to incorporate into your daily routine. This article perfectly outlines our favorite exercises.
As you can see, the things that tend to damage our eyes such as the sun, digital screens, and a poor diet cause the same eye conditions. AMD, cataracts, and even blindness can easily be avoided with small changes to our daily routines. Simply adding in exercises, purchasing new frames, and eating nutritious foods will help save our eyesight.
If you have any other tips about maintaining eye health naturally, please comment below!