If you don’t know, I am an Optometrist in addition to a Health Coach. I have been a practicing OD for 28 years! (wow, I know) Your eyes work everyday to show you the world and it is important that you take care of them. I am all about nutrition and “we are what we eat” so learning what to eat for healthy eyes will also be good for the rest of your body as well. There are many factors that determine whether someone needs glasses, genetics can play a big part. AGE plays a role as well. Presbyopia is a process that typically begins in our 40’s where the lens slowly declines in it’s accommodative ability ( focus up close). This is a gradual process that is not very fun to go through but typically affects everyone. Cataracts usually appear in our 60’s and Dry Eye is much more common these days due to too much time on screens. The good news is that most of these things are treatable and sometimes even avoidable. I will go over a few proven tips for eye health here. READ ON-
A. What’s in your kitchen? Our eyes love a nutrient dense diet as well as exercise, just like the rest of our body. There is not one food (like carrots) that keep eyes healthy but a wide variety. A few to mention are EGGS, especially if you can get your hands on farm fresh eggs from free range hens. Eggs contain zinc which is great for the retina. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin which helps protect us from macular degeneration. Citrus fruits and berries are loaded with Vitamin C can also help to prevent cataracts. Almonds and spinach contain lots of Vitamin E which is an important anti-oxidant that fights macular degeneration. Exercise/working your heart lowers your risk of ocular diseases. And it’s really important not to smoke because smoking increases your risk of early cataracts, linked to glaucoma, and also macular degeneration.
B. Clean Eyes. Good eye hygiene is very important. Daily disposable contacts are the best and prevent many problems associated with contacts that last longer or sleeping in contacts. Makeup is also a concern, always make sure to remove all makeup properly before going to sleep at night. If you don’t, inflammation and/or infection can set up and can lead to styes. Do not share your eye makeup and usually you should be replacing it every 3-4 months.
C. “Sunnies” Sunglasses help protect the front of our eyes, our cornea. Exposure to very bright sun for long periods of time can cause issues like photokeratitis or pterygium. Photokeratitis can cause a headache, irritation & blurred vision. A pterygium is a fleshy growth of the outside tissue of the eye. Some sun exposure is good for us for many reasons. Getting some natural Vitamin D is important and it’s shown that some sunlight in the morning will actually help us to sleep better at night.
D. Screen Time This is a biggie in todays world. Blue light coming from screens can disrupt our sleep at night and we need all the sleep we can get! Too much screen time can lead to computer vision syndrome. This is where eyes get tired and also dry out. Blinking can help this a lot. When we stare at a computer, it’s been proven that we don’t blink nearly as much as we should. I like the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds!
And lastly, it is recommended that you get a complete eye exam every year, to check the health of your eyes. Optometrists have a doctorate in optometry to examine, diagnose and treat many issues. Ophthalmologists are MDs who perform medical and surgical treatments. If any symptoms arise such as loss of vision, curtains across your vision, new floaters/flashes of light, severe eye pain, sudden blurred vision or redness you should seek immediate attention.