Eyes are one of the most important channels we use to gather information and make sense of the world around us. We also use our eyes to express how we feel knowingly or unwittingly in a way that is often more powerful than spoken words. Can you imagine going through a day without opening your eyes? Even with the backup of our ears and our sense of touch, the world is just not the same without the eyes. Despite of the importance of our eyes, they often receive little attention from us. But without proper care, our eyes can quickly deteriorate with age, developing eye diseases that can greatly affect our quality of life. It is never too late to start. Pick up some tips from this article and start cultivating some good eye care habits and practices to improve your ocular health today.
Tonics for the Eyes
Wolfberries, also known as goji berries are commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to support the kidneys and liver, as well as to improve vision. Recent studies found that these small red berries are also a rich source of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that can help to decrease your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in Americans 60 years of age and older. Usually available in dried form, wolfberries can be added to food or drank as tea.
Chrysanthemum tea has been used by the Chinese for centuries to relieve red or sore eyes caused by insufficient sleep or prolonged eyestrain. In TCM, dried chrysanthemum is prescribed to support the liver and lungs, and to strengthen the eyes.
Bilberry is a commonly used herb in the West to strengthen eye capillaries and prevent eye-related disease and infection. Bilberry is sometimes combined with other anti-aging herbs such Rooibos and Sutherlandia Frutescens and sold as tonics for the eyes.
- Preliminary studies found that omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce the occurrences of dry eyes syndrome in women. Rich sources of healthy fats include salmons, sardines, mackerels, flax seeds and walnuts. (Note: Solely relying on dietary nuts and other plant foods may not give you an adequate supply of omega-3 fats.)
- Vitamin A is essential to healthy eyes and normal eyesight, and antioxidants together with zinc may help to reduce the risk of developing advanced AMD. You can get your daily required amount of vitamin A through fruits and vegetables such as carrots, squash, apricots and sweet potatoes. These plant food contain high amounts of beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Getting your As through whole food also ensure that you will never get vitamin A overdose, which has been found to cause cancer in some studies, since the body will only convert as much as it needs.To get a hearty dose of zinc, opt for zinc-rich food such as oysters, red meat, beans, nuts, whole grains and sunflower seeds. For great sources of antioxidants (namely vitamin C and E), you just need to include plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables, like spinach, tomatoes, green peas, apples, oranges, kiwis and grapefruit, into your daily diet.
Simple Ways to Protect Your Eyes
While it is important to get adequate dose of ‘sunshine vitamin’ for healthy bones, studies have linked ultraviolet-A and ultraviolet-B (UV-A and UV-B) radiation in sunlight to a number of eye disorders, such as cataracts. So when you are out enjoying the sun, remember to protect your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-A and UV-B blocking sunglasses.
If you are a handyman at home, it makes sense to invest in a safety goggle whenever you are operating any heavy-duty machinery or equipment. You won’t want to learn the power of a blade of grass or a chip of wood that is flying 100mph at you the hard way.
Don’t let an exciting, endorphin-charged session of tennis turn into a painful, black eye experience. Wear protective eye wear during sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis, squash and hockey to keep your eyeballs intact. But if you have glaucoma, which is caused by increased pressure within the eyeball, avoid wearing goggles during an exercise as the eye wear will elevate your eye pressure even further.
Do your eyes often feel dry and itchy in an air-conditioned room? Then the low humidity of the environment may be drying out your eyes. Standby some artificial tears, also known as eye lubricants, to relieve your eye condition, or a better option would be to consider using a humidifier to keep the relative humidity of your workplace or home between 30 and 50 percent.
If your working or living environment constantly exposes you to dust, smoke or other air irritants, short of switching job or changing home, you can install an air purifying device that meets your needs to keep those air contaminants at bay (and here are some nifty tips to help you choose the right air cleaner).
Keep Your Eyesight With Regular Screening
Get an eye checkup every two years when you hit forty and above. Many eye diseases progress slowly with no symptoms at all, catching many people by surprise. When vision symptoms become obvious, some irreversible damage would have already been made. Regular tests will help to detect any eye problem early and slow down, or even stop, the progression of some diseases before any permanent harm occur.
If you are suffering from diabetes or high blood pressure, you should go for regular, frequent eye screening as advised by your physician, even when there are no symptoms of an eye condition. Because diabetic and high blood pressure patients are at a higher risk of contracting retinopathy, which can damage the retina and even lead to visual impairment.
If you are dark-skinned, suffering from severe myopia or has a family history of eye disorder such as AMD, consider getting regular eye examination with an optometrist even though you may not be forty yet. These factors put you at a higher risk of developing visual problems than the average population.
Here is another good reason to quit smoking. Research has revealed that smoking harms the delicate tissues of the eyes and increases your chances of developing cataracts and AMD. Stub out today for your eyes’ sake.
Obesity has been linked to a number of eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. It also increases your risk of developing diabetes, another potential eyesight destroying disease. So by keeping your weight under control you don’t just fit better into your old clothes, you also prevent the onset of ocular disease.
Eye Care for Computer Users
As computers become ubiquitous, eyestrain related to computer usage is also on the rise. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has found that 75% of computer users surveyed “reported occasional aching or burning eyes at work“, while another “39% reported blurred vision“.
Cultivate the habit of taking an eye break for every forty minutes of working at the computer. Simply closing your eyes and doing some creative visualization for a couple of minutes will help you feeling more relaxed and refreshed. You can also do a brief breathing meditation by following your breaths. Alternatively, get up and walk over to the next cubicle for a friendly chat with your co-worker and chill out together, that is if he or she is also in the same mood as you.
Check your computer monitor for glare. If too much light is bouncing off your screen, re-position the monitor or install an anti-glare filter to cut down the misdirected light. An amazing free tool is f.lux which is available Mac, PC, iPhone, and iPad that will soften the lightning on your screen when the sun sets, away from the eerily-blue glow to a warm light.
Position your monitor about one arm’s length away from you and at or just below eye level, so that you don’t strain your neck to make out what is on the screen.
The proliferation of laptops with high screen resolutions makes words appear like ants on 15″ and smaller screens. Learn how to pump up the system font size on your Windows system and end your eye-popping days. For Mac users, you cannot change the system font size globally. You can either change the font size for individual application or use the Zoom function.
Many web sites are created with font size 8 or 9 point as the default. If you don’t want to mess with your system font size, you can adjust the browser font size via the web browser’s font size setting. On IE, look out for ‘Text Size’ under the View menu. If you are using Firefox, a ‘Zoom’ is also available under the same menu. But note that this may not work on all websites, as some have their font size setting locked.
Massaging and Exercises for Sparkling Eyes
Your eyes need exercises just like your body. Build up your ocular strength by doing this simple eyeball exercise everyday. Rotate both of your eyeballs clockwise for 25 times, followed by the same number of repetitions anti-clockwise, without moving your head.
When your eyes feel tired and heavy, it is time for you to take a break. Heed your body signals and treat your overworked eyes to an eye relaxation exercise. Rub your palms together for about 30 seconds. When they feel warm, cup them over your closed eyes and let your vision relax in the total darkness for a few minutes.
Here is another training exercise for bionic vision. Choose a point that is about one arm’s length away from you. It can be anything as long as it does not move and it is at eye level. Now focus on something that is much further away for about ten seconds through this point. Then return your focus back to the chosen point for another ten seconds. Alternate this near and far-vision training for ten times.
Blinking may be your way of getting the attention of the lady or guy sitting at the next table, but it can also save your own eyes. When you are in front of the computer, your rate of blinking usually drops to a dismal level. To keep your eyes in good condition, besides taking frequent breaks, practice your seductive blinks often.
To improve blood circulation around your eyes, try this: Close your eyes and use your middle three fingers to lightly tap around each eye. You should look as if you are playing piano delicately around your eyes. Do this for about one minute each day during commercial break.
Good Vision Habits
You have heard this since childhood: don’t read or work in dimly-lit areas. Insufficient light will strain your eyes and make them tired easily, causing your eyes to age faster. Get an adjustable desk lamp that allows you to focus light on where you need it most. Bear in mind that the finer the task, the more light you will need.
When a foreign object gets into your eye, the usual reaction is to rub it out. Don’t! You risk causing serious damage to your eyes by rubbing in the offending object. Instead, try flushing it out with lukewarm running water. If that does not help, get professional medical help as soon as you can.
You share your food and even your clothes with your best roommate, but never ever share eye products, like eye drops, eyeliners and mascaras. You might just end up sharing germs that can cause nasty eye infections. And these products should also be discarded as soon as they past their shelf lives.
If you use contact lenses, follow the optician’s or manufacture’s instructions on how to clean the lenses, how long you should wear them each time (usually never more than twelve hours) , and when they should be replaced. Painful eye infections that required surgery and medication are not unheard of for those who did not treat their contact lenses with care.
Does your shampoo or body wash irritate your eyes? You may pass it off as a non-issue, but if you already suffering from some form of eye disease, one less irritation is another healing chance for your eyes. Switch to shampoo and body wash that do not contain harsh chemicals such as sodium laureth sulfate, a common foaming agent, that may cause skin and eyes irritation.
This article has been republished from The Conscious Life