10 Tips To Improve Eye Health & Eyesight

by Emer Delaney

In today's ever technology-orientated society, mobile phones, i-pads, laptops, TVs, the constant stream of social media and much more make it almost impossible to shut down our minds. We all know that; however what’s often forgotten about is the impact that so much artificial visual stimulation has on the health of our eyes – both physiologically and in our eyesight itself.

Did you know… More than 25 million people worldwide are affected by macular degeneration and cataracts? Or that they are the
leading cause of blindness in over 55s?
American Optometric Association 

As humans, we need to slow down sometimes: relax, take time to walk and enjoy nature. Not only does this help us to distress mentally but it also has an important impact on our bodies, especially central nervous system (CNS) function and muscular recovery. The muscles need time to relax; otherwise, they become increasingly tense and, inevitably, they don’t work as efficiently as they need to. In the eyes, it can cause inflammation, oxidation and other symptoms related to decreased vision until, eventually, the body just says 'Stop'.

When we have tense muscles in our back, we have a massage; when we need to feel more energy, we eat ‘super-foods’ or vitamins; or when we want to see better, we wear glasses; but all of these things, though they do help, are superficial. We need to look to the root of the problem to solve it.

Here are 10 tips to help improve your eye health and sight:

1. Sleep & Unwind
When you sleep, your body repairs itself. It regulates hormone levels, repairs muscles, neurons, memories and more. However, if you regularly don’t allow it sufficient time to do this, it won’t be able to repair any potential damage you’re causing to your eyes and, over time, this can lead to irreparable damage. Prevention is better than cure so aim for 7-9 hours sleep nightly. 

Try turning off all technology after 10pm. You’ll be amazed at how much it transforms your life. You’ll sleep better, be calmer and more relaxed.

2. De-Stress
Stress has a big impact on how tense your muscles are. It affects everything from the brain to how much you strain your eyes. The brain is the ‘hub’ of the whole body. If it’s relaxed and healthy, it will work more efficiently and send better signals to the rest of the organs in your body, including your eyes; telling them to work more efficiently too. Regular and prolonged periods of stress for your eyes can create long-term damage.

3. Eat A Healthy Colourful Diet
Eating a healthy balanced diet, full of colourful fruits and vegetables can dramatically improve your health and vitality. Different coloured fruits and vegetables contain different vitamins and minerals, all of which are vital for maintaining a healthy, well functioning body with high energy levels. The more colourful they are, the more nutrients they contain so in the iconic (and slightly ironic in this case!) words of Skittles: ‘Taste the rainbow!’ Some of the best foods to eat for good eye health are: 

4. Bananas
Bananas contain high levels of Vitamin B6 (i.e. affects sleep quality); magnesium (i.e. aids muscle relaxation); and tryptophan, which the body converts into serotonin (i.e. the brain’s mood boosting neurotransmitter). Together, they play an important role in fighting depression, reducing stress and increasing feelings of calmness and wellbeing, meaning that eating bananas regularly will definitely help you to maintain healthy eyes and feel better all round. 

5. Mangoes 
Mangoes are a rich in Vitamin A, which is important for eye health. It helps to maintain a healthy surface on the eye, prevent dry eyes and reduces inflammation caused by overuse. It also promotes healthy mucous membranes and skin, ensuring that they are effective barriers to bacteria and viruses; and reduces the risk of eye infections. 

6. Freshwater Oily Fish 
Oily fish such as tuna and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and help to protect against dry eye, macular degeneration and cataracts.

Vegetarian? Try taking vegetarian supplements containing blackcurrant seed oil or flaxseed oil; or alternatively eat a handful of mixed nuts daily. Pistachios, walnuts and almonds are particularly brilliant as not only are they rich in omega-3 fatty acids but they’re also full of Vitamin E, which is also vital for maintaining good eye health. 

7. Richly Coloured Fresh Green Vegetables 
Leafy greens, peas, avocados and broccoli are full of beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin – plant pigments that help to protect against macular degeneration and cataracts. They’re also full of powerful antioxidants.

(Remember: Fresh fruits and vegetables begin to gradually lose their nutrients from the moment they are picked so for optimum benefits eat them as soon as possible.)

8. Eggs 
Eggs contain vitamins and nutrients that have calming effects on the body (e.g. brain function; muscle repair and growth; they reduce stress and promote a happy and stable mood). They also contain lutein and Vitamin A, which improve eye health and function, and prevent dry eyes.

9. Pistachio Nuts
Pistachios are high in two carotenoids that rarely exist in other nuts: lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids attack free radicals and destroy them before they can cause damage, helping to slow the progression of an eye disease called age-related macular degeneration.

10. Citrus Fruits & Berries 
Oranges, grapefruits, lemons and berries are full of vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants, and are hugely beneficial for the whole body. They also contain high levels of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, making them brilliant for improving energy levels and de-stressing the body’s muscles (inc. the eyes). Not only do they improve eye health, alertness and vision, they also reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

Check Out The Proof: Vision, Collagen & Vitamin C

  • According to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (a major recent clinical trial sponsored by the National Eye Institute), oranges contain high levels of Vitamin C and other important antioxidants such as Vitamin E, which are vital for promoting good vision. These help us to maintain good eye health by regenerating the tissue and repairing any potential damage to it. 
  • Vitamin C helps the body to form and maintain healthy connective tissues including collagen. When people think of collagen, they think of skincare, youthful appearances and beauty but collagen plays an important role in eye health too as it’s found in the cornea of the eye.
  • Vitamin C also promotes healthy blood vessels, including the delicate capillaries in the eye’s retina, which play pivotal roles in what we see. The retina receives light that the lens has focused, then converts it into neural signals and sends these signals to the brain to facilitate visual recognition of what we’ve seen.

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