I’m at the age now where I need to start to pay attention to my eye health. I’ve worn distance glasses for years, for driving and watching movies, but reading glasses suddenly seem to be getting closer. I work at a computer more than I used to, and my eyes often feel tired, and driving in the evening is harder than it used to be. But is this deterioration really inevitable? What if we do some simple things to help prevent our eyes from deteriorating? Read on for techniques I’m trying out to relieve strained and tired eyes, and some dietary changes we can make to help keep our eyes healthy and our vision clear.
If you have a desk job, then regular mini-breaks from your screen are essential. We are all spending more time staring at screens than ever before – according to data from multiple studies, the average person can spend anywhere from six-11 hours per day reading and watching videos on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Think about how your eyes felt the last time you sat in front of your computer for hours on end without taking a break. From blurry vision to dry eyes, all that screen time can lead to short and longterm vision problems. While you may not be able to get rid of your screens altogether, giving your eyes a chance to rest and recharge throughout the day can lower the risk of eye strain and vision problems.
Known as the 20/20/20 rule, eye experts recommend taking a break from your screen every 20 minutes, and focusing your eyes on something at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. I find I set an alarm on my phone to remind me, and it’s a great excuse for a stretch as well.
Another really nice practice to sooth your eyes is called palming – you might have come across it in a yoga class. It involves rubbing your palms together briskly for about 30 seconds and then putting the palms of your hands over your closed eyes for another 30 seconds. It’s very restful and the warmth of your hands relaxes the six muscles around each eye and attracts more energy and blood flow.
What can help protect our eyes from a dietary perspective? A healthy diet with low levels of sugar, high amounts of green vegetables, nuts and legumes (beans and lentils) and lots of oil fish is the best for long term health in general, and also for healthy eyes. Good hydration is also essential – particularly for preventing or correcting a condition known as Dry Eyes. Recently I have been really focusing on drinking at least a litre of water a day on top of my cups of coffee and tea – and I have to say I am noticing a huge number of benefits. I’ll have to write a whole article on the benefits of drinking more water, there are so many!
We’ve all been told to eat our carrots so we can see in the dark, and interestingly there’s some truth in the fact that eating plenty of carrots (or more specifically, certain Carotenoids, which are found in green. Orange and yellow foods) are beneficial for eye health.
If you are, like me, becoming concerned about your eye health, it’s worth doing a dietary overhaul to make sure you are getting enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids (you will get these essential nutrients from oily fish and seeds such as linseeds) and Lutein and zeaxanthin, which are both Carotenoids that have a strong affinity to eye health. It’s unclear why Omega 3 is so beneficial for eye health, but certainly people who regularly consume Linseed Oil/Flaxseed oil (sold in the food section of many health food shops) and/or Omega 3 from oily fish seem to have better vision, fewer cataracts and less problems such as Dry Eyes.
Lutein is a carotenoid related to vitamin A and beta-carotene. It is beneficial for the macula, slowing the progression of macular degeneration. It has the ability to filter out blue light emitted by digital devices. It may also delay cataract progression.
Research shows that high lutein intake can prevent age-related vision loss and cataracts, and improve symptoms in people who have these conditions. It’s found in leafy greens vegetables (especially kale), egg yolks, parsley, as well as in carrots, sweet potatoes, pistachios and bell peppers. According to WebMD, most adult diets only contain 30 per cent of the Lutein that our body needs, so a supplement could be a good idea – and luckily it works just as well when taken in supplement form.
Another really important carotenoid for eye health is zeaxanthin, which together with Lutein has been shown to help protect our eyes from damage by Ultraviolet light among other things.
Diets rich in these two nutrients may help hold off age-related eye diseases. For example, one study found that people who ate foods rich in zeaxanthin – again think ‘green veggies’ like spinach, kale, and broccoli — may be half as likely to get cataracts. Another showed that if you have macular degeneration, which causes damage to the middle of your retina and can take away your central vision, supplements with lutein and zeaxanthin can slow its progress.
If you want to support your eye health using supplements, we generally suggest starting with a supplement called Macu Complete, from Irish company One Nutrition, as it contains both the nutrients Lutein and zeaxanthin as well as vitamins C, E, Beta Carotene (which your body turns into Vitamin A, essential for healthy eyes) and Omega 3, making it a really beneficial all-round eye support. We have Macu Complete on a 20% off Discount in Organico at the moment if you want to try it out. You should notice the benefits after around 3 months of taking it.
Other important nutrients for good vision include vitamin D, Magnesium, and if you have Dry Eyes, Omega 7, which is incredible for internal moisturising. If you want more information about the different natural supplements available to support Eye Health through Healthfood shops, check out our latest blog post on Organico.ie.
And lastly we have a very exciting Free Webinar coming up on May 26, on Period Health. We will have Alison Cullen from AVogel to answer questions on using herbs to treat hormonal issues, and also Ruby Raut who started the Company Wuka who can explain how to use Period Underwear and what a difference it can make your life.
The Webinar will be an extended Q & A – Rachel and I will put all your questions to Alison & Ruby – Ask about mood swings, period pain, irregular periods, hormonal breakouts… anything you’d love to know about having a healthier period, the natural way.
The Webinar is Free to attend but you must be subscribed to Organico newsletter by midday, Tuesday, May 24 to receive link to register: www.organico.ie/newsletter