It’s easy to take your vision for granted, especially when you’re young and invincible. Many of us, of course, don’t have that luxury and are all too aware of how delicate our eyesight can be. But whether you’re as sharp-eyed as an eagle or as blind as a particularly short-sighted bat (despite the saying, most bats can see fine), our eyesight naturally weakens with age. That makes it crucial to preserve what we have as best we can. So to start the eyeball rolling, let’s look at 5 simple steps you can take to keep your eyes bright eyed and bushy tailed for as long as possible.
If you spend a lot time focusing at a single depth, for example when working at a computer, reading or watching TV, then you may encounter eye strain. This occurs when the small ciliary muscles that help your eye to change are over or underused. In the short term you may notice dry eyes and headaches, but over time it can weaken the muscles, affecting your eyesight. If you consider how many of us spend our working day staring at a screen then come home to stare at another one, with our phone screen to stare at in between, you can how it can become a problem.
Thankfully it’s easy to counter this, with the easy to remember 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. Looking out the window helps, as does shifting your gaze between different objects or tracking anything that moves like passers by or birds. This gives your eye muscles a chance to wake up and stretch, so you can return to the job, the book or the box refreshed.
That big burning ball in the sky might bring light and life into the world but don’t be too much of a sun worshipper. The ultraviolet rays it emits can damage your eyesight, ageing the eye tissues and increasing the risks of cataracts or glaucoma. A decent pair of UVA-protective sunglasses are a must for outdoor pursuits. Choose polarised ones for driving or sports or wraparounds for especially sunny days as they block more light coming in. How dark they are is purely a style choice- it’s possible to find completely clear shades with strong UVA protection, and cheaper, darker ones without any, so go for whatever style you like but remember to look for labels with UVA 99% or 100%.
It may surprise you to know that regular exercise can help your vision. But before you start imagining a montage of your eyeballs jogging along mini treadmills and lifting weights to the soundtrack from Rocky IV, we’re talking about you not your peepers. Improved fitness boosts the circulation of blood and oxygen to your eyes. Regular exercise also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, which can both cause vision problems. Several studies have linked increased exercise to reduced risk of macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.1
Diabetes and high blood sugar sustained for a long time can increase the risks of blurry vision, cataracts, glaucoma and retinopathy. Luckily, by balancing out our blood sugar levels early, we can reduce the risk of vision loss by 95%.2 Even better, some conditions such as glucose-related blurred vision are totally reversible with lifestyle changes alone.
There are many ways to lower your blood sugar. Exercise helps, as does a diet low in carbs and fried foods and high in fibre and low-GI foods. Reducing stress is also beneficial, so take some time out for yourself if you’re always on the go. For those wanting an extra hand, natural remedies for lowering blood sugar include apple cider vinegar, fenugreek seeds and cinnamon.
We all know vitamins are good for us, and most of us can name the easy ones with nice simple letters like A and C. There are, however, many more than this, and some of the lesser known ones play important roles in maintaining our eye health. Take the case of Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Just because they don’t have catchy names doesn’t make them any less useful. In fact these two concentrate themselves in our retina, absorbing excess light radiation and preventing sun damage.3 They are found in green things like green leafy vegetables, peas, broccoli and pistachios.
Another important category is the equally unpronounceable anthocyanocides, found in blue things like blueberries, blackcurrants, bilberries and plums. They boost your night vision, as well as improving myopia and glaucoma symptoms.4
Other better known vitamins to include in your diet include vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, which builds the collagen in your eyes; E, found in nuts, seeds, avocado and oily fish, which lowers your cataracts risk by 50%5 and beta-carotene, found in orange things like carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, melon and apricot, which help keeps your eyes properly lubricated. So your mum was right, carrots do help you see better!
If you want to make sure you’re getting enough of the good stuff in sufficient amounts then look no further. All of these and more can be found in an easily-absorbed form sourced from the highest-quality vegan ingredients in Protea Wellness’ Eye Sense blend.