Keeping your eyes healthy
This month’s blog is all about eye health.
For many of us, eye health isn’t something we regularly think about. We go about our days, taking our vision as a natural given, and it’s not until we experience a vision issue that we become aware of the importance of actively caring for one of our most precious senses. Fortunately, eye health is something we can prioritise daily. From supplements and eye-healthy habits, to the foods we eat, simple lifestyle changes can do wonders for preserving and maintaining vision well into our later years.
If you’re curious about these, read on. We’ll cover some essential questions to help you stay on top of your eye health with confidence.
How can I maintain healthy eyes?
Many of us wonder how to keep our eyes healthy and beautiful? This is something we should try to stay conscious of by incorporating the following practices into our daily lives. The first is being vigilant in visiting your Optometrist regularly for eye exams. Our Optometrists are trained to help you understand problems you may be experiencing with your vision, propose solutions and provide management options when appropriate. They can also prescribe spectacles and contact lenses, prescribe daily eye exercises, or simply reassure you about the health of your eyes for peace of mind.
Be sure to visit your Optometrist whenever you are experiencing these acute signs/symptoms:
- Light flashes
- New floaters
- Eye pain
- Sudden vision loss
- Irritation around your eyes or eyelids
- Itchy eyes
If you are visually impaired, prescribed eyeglasses will help you to see better, reduce eye-strain and improve your daily life. Sunglasses are important, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. It can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce glare induced strain. Prolonged UV exposure without protection is linked to a variety of eye conditions, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
If you’re working in hazardous environments, eye protection is also key. Whether you’re outside, working with chemicals or construction tools, having specially designed protective eyewear will protect you from irritants and particles that could cause acute injury to your eye. We can provide prescription spectacles in the form of safety glasses, along with other options such as tinting.
Smoking is a main risk factor for macular degeneration, which a large 15-year Australian study showed. You can speak to your GP practice regarding smoking cessation advice and support.
Which food is good for your eyes?
A diet rich in omega 3s, vegetables and fruits are essential to maintain good eye health. Try to incorporate servings of these into your weekly diet and your eyes will thank you for it. Examples of omega 3 rich foods include fish, nuts and seeds.
What you eat can also put your eyes at risk too. When it comes to the worst foods for eye health, things like refined carbohydrates, high-sodium processed meats, cooking oils and fried foods can all be detrimental to your overall health, blood pressure and cholesterol, which can negatively impact your eyes. Diabetes and eye health also go hand in hand, so for at-risk diabetics, getting your diet in check is a must-do. Your overall health, including your eyesight, starts with what you eat.
What are some natural eye care tips?
Other than a frequent eye health test, dietary recommendations and general eye protection, one of the best natural eye care tips is to stay hydrated. With over 70 percent of our body made of water, fluids are essential for keeping our organs functioning properly, overall vitality and wellbeing. Try to drink 2-3 litres of water every day, and add fruit infusions for an added vitamin boost.
Eye health vitamins and supplements
There is some great research available regarding foods for eye health. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study 2 (AREDS), published in 2013, found that nutrients like zinc, vitamin C, copper, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin were found to reduce the rate of macular degeneration progression. We stock Macutec, which is based off the AREDS 2 study. It is a one capsule per day formulation, coming in 30 capsule packs. A similar product but for vegetarians called MacuShield is also available.
Sometimes getting sufficient vitamins and minerals from your diet can be difficult. This is when supplements can be helpful, to ensure you’re covering your bases for general health. For example, obtaining the quantity of nutrients in the AREDS 2 study is almost impossible. It would be equivalent to obtaining zinc from eating 135g of oysters daily!
The following supplements have been found to be helpful for general eye health:
Omega-3 fatty acids are a great supplement and can be found in things like fish oil capsules, or flaxseed oil. Low levels of Omega 3 are associated with dry eyes, and key acids in Omega 3’s are crucial to the development of retinal cells.
Zinc is a powerful antioxidant that can prevent eye cell damage. If taking zinc, it should be taken with a copper supplement as zinc causes copper absorption to lessen.
In studies, Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts. Supplementing with this daily, in addition to eating a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables is key.
Lutein is a carotenoid - a pigment found in plants and your retina. Taking lutein as a supplement can help to increase density in your retina. It can also help you absorb light that damages your eyes!
Eye health is something that we can always be conscious of. By incorporating some of the practices above, you can make eye health an automatic, daily habit, giving you peace of mind and the eye health you deserve.
For optometry care, come into our Visique Eye Spy Optometrist clinic in Palmerston North. We have a passion for helping all of our patients live happier healthier lives through eye care and an incredible eye test. Pop in and say hi, or call to book an appointment. We’ll see you at Visique Eye Spy.