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How to Take Care of Your Eyes Naturally

As we get older, it feels like our bodies start falling apart! Suddenly there are aches and pains in places there never were before. Even our eyes seem to require more attention as we suddenly need reading glasses or have to upgrade our usual contact prescription to something stronger. If you’re concerned about your vision, here are some natural methods to help take care of your eyes:

Consuming Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

Adding more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your diet can help maintain and even improve your eye health.  While you can take supplements for this, it is just as helpful to eat foods that contain nutrients that are beneficial for your eyes.
Vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C are all known to help protect our eyes from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin are especially important in that they are both macular pigment protective. As antioxidants, these vitamins can also fight against free radical damage to your eye cells, protecting your retina and vision.
Vitamin A also helps keep your eyes properly lubricated, helps us produce the pigments we need to see the full spectrum of light, and is a component of a protein that helps us see in low light.  Vitamin E also protects your eyes against UV rays, and all three of the vitamins work together to help prevent other eye diseases such as glaucoma.
You can get these nutrients naturally by consuming foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, cantaloupe, apricots, eggs, leafy greens, fortified cereals, tropical fruits, citrus fruits, peppers, vegetable and olive oil, peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, and berries.

Reducing Eye Strain and Dry Eyes

If you find your eyes are dry or hurting, there are some natural ways to help relieve these problems until you are able to be seen for a routine eye exam.  Many of us sit in front of screens all day or all night and the blue light that emanates from your laptop, television, cell phone, and other screens can be detrimental to your eyes.  Consider getting glasses to help with looking at blue light, or try some of these tricks to relieve your eyes:
20/20/20 – This trick is simple.  When working in front of a screen for long periods of time, remember to stop every 20 minutes to look away at an object that’s at least 20 feet in the distance for at least 20 seconds.  This act alone can help reduce eye strain and improve your eye’s ability to focus.
Another suggestion is to keep your workspace well-lit.  This includes if you’re at home reading or watching TV.  Having a well-lit area makes it easier for your eyes to focus and reduces eye strain.  Continuing to read or perform tasks in dimly-lit areas is likely to lead to headaches and contribute negatively to your eye health.  You should also try to use warm lighting as that is more tolerable to our eyes than cool lighting.
If you’re having problems with your eyes feeling dry and painful, the above steps to reduce your eye strain may help you, but there is another technique you can try to both prevent and address dry eyes.  Blink.  Simply blink more often, and blink fully (close your eyes all the way).  This is a completely natural way to help retain moisture in your eyes, especially after staring at a screen.  You can also try blinking tightly for 10 seconds at a time.

Preventing Disease and Injury

There are many reasons for vision changes including old age, injuries, certain medications, and diseases.  While there are certain genetic and auto-immune disorders that increase your risk of eye problems such as Sickle Cell Disease, Lupus, and Multiple Sclerosis, there are natural steps you can take each day to help prevent diseases that affect your eyes.

One kind of obvious but often ignored rule to prevent eye infections or injuries is to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes frequently.  Doing so makes your eyes vulnerable to infection and that can in turn impact your vision.   Rubbing vigorously, which is common among people with allergies, can result in a scratched cornea. This can lead to blurry vision, discomfort, and even ulcers in more severe cases.  If you do plan to touch your eyes, be sure to clean your hands thoroughly first.

Eating right and exercising are two other miraculous ways to prevent eye diseases.  We’re constantly told how valuable it is to have a balanced diet and consistent exercise, but these activities also help with our eyesight and our eye health!  A balanced diet helps you get the right nutrients to protect your eyes and fight off general diseases.

On the other hand, exercise can reduce your risk of problems like high cholesterol or diabetes – both of which can affect your vision and even lead to blindness.  Cardiovascular exercises can also increase the flow of blood to the optic nerve and lower intraocular pressure, helping to keep your retinal cells protected.

If you’re concerned about your vision, one of the best things you can do is get routine eye exams to ensure your eyes remain healthy.  Schedule an appointment today.

Dr. Jesse Camen

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