Whilst we are bound to adopt many unhealthy habits during Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, small and simple steps can be taken to get back on track.
Eat a healthy diet
Most of us tend to eat chocolate and other delicious foods more at Christmas, which is fine; however, we recommend including more fruits and vegetables to keep your eyes healthy and aid overall health. A diet rich in beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of vision loss from eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
What are the best foods to eat for eye health?
The best foods for eye health include vegetables, oily fish, and nuts. We recommend you boost your uptake of the following:
Leafy greens to fight blue light
Dark leafy greens can help protect your eyes; they include:
- Brussels Sprouts
- Turnip greens
These greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are also found in your eyes. These can help to protect your eyes from high-energy light waves from the sun.
Kale is also packed with vitamin A and vitamin B, beta carotene, calcium, potassium, and iron. These nutrients strengthen our retinas. In addition to this, kale keeps the blood cells in the eyes healthy and can help prevent leakages and blockages.
Orange foods for vision boosting beta-carotene
Orange vegetables and fruits are all high in beta-carotene, which helps your eyes to maintain visibility in darker conditions. These foods include:
- Sweet potato
Beta-carotene is a type of vitamin A that gives these foods their orange colour. Eating more of these will help your eyes to better absorb light, allowing you to maintain normal eyesight. Beta-carotene also helps to reduce the oxidative stress on the eyes from blue light.
Fish is sometimes called ‘brain food’ because of its positive impact on brain function and overall health. They contain omega-3 fatty acids which lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. The omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that support visual development and aid the health at the back of the eye in the retina. It’s best to get these fatty acids through your diet; they can be found in the following:
- Fish oil supplements
There’s also been evidence to show oily fish consumption can help reduce the symptoms of dry eye. It’s recommended to eat oily fish at least 3 times a week. If you’re buying salmon, opt for wild-caught salmon rather than farm-raised salmon as salmon that’s been farmed contains less omega 3 and is higher in saturated fats.
Nuts and seeds
Just like oily fish, nuts and seeds are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also high in vitamin E to help you fight toxic free radicals.
Any kind of nut or seed will do, but here are so great ones to consider:
- Brazil nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
Drink plenty of water
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. This can prevent you from getting dry eyes and is especially important for those who wear contact lenses.
Cut down on Caffeine
Whilst drinking coffee carries no serious health risk, large quantities can reduce your tear production and lead to dry eyes which if not treated, can lead to eye infections, blurred vision and light sensitivity. Too much caffeine consumption can also raise your eye pressure.
Exercise for eye health
Not only does exercise improve mood and keep your body fit, but it can also improve your vision, whether you already have great vision or have symptoms of an eye disease. Exercise can help to reduce the risk of the following eye diseases.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
There is no cure for the devastating effects of vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD) but research suggests that physical activity might prevent the risk of AMD. Running in particular is considered to reduce the risk of AMD while aerobic exercise increases the levels of growth factors that help to protect retinal function and structure from degeneration.
Exercise can improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve, as well as lower intraocular pressure which can help to prevent glaucoma (unless heredity). Both jogging and weightlifting are especially good for this as long as you remember to breathe correctly. You should avoid holding your breath as this can increase intraocular pressure.
Exercise along with diet can help to keep diabetes under control and by managing this, you can reduce diabetic retinopathy amongst other complications.
Are there eye exercises for double vision?
You can also do eye yoga exercises to relieve tired eyes and eye strain which can cause double vision. Although there is no scientific proof to suggest that it can help with the above eye problems, eye yoga can condition and strengthen the eye area and is a great idea if you spend hours on end staring at a computer screen.
How to improve eye health
The following tips can also improve your eye health as well as keep your eyes white and healthy:
Get a good night’s sleep
A good night's sleep will support your eye health, leaving your eyes feeling bright and refreshed. A lack of sleep can result in sore, red eyes and puffiness.
Wear sunglasses with UVA & UVB protection
Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection can reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration or cataracts. Even on cloudy days, UVA and UVB rays can penetrate the clouds and damage your eyes. At Feel Good Contacts, we have a huge collection of designer sunglasses, all with 100% UVA and UVB protection.
We all know that smoking is bad for our health; not only can it cause serious illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease, but smoking is also bad for your eyesight.
Smoking can lead to several vision problems including cataracts, AMD and dry eye. Smoking can even cause vision loss. If you’re a smoker, the new year is a great opportunity to try and cut down, or even better, quit altogether.
Limit your screen time and exposure to blue light
Staring at a digital screen for too long, be it your phone or computer, can cause a range of eye problems including:
- Digital eye strain
- Blurry vision
- Dry eyes
- Problems focusing at a distance
Collectively, these symptoms are known as computer vision syndrome which can be reduced by taking the following precautions:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds
- Don’t forget to blink – this will keep your eyes lubricated. If your eyes are dry, consider using eye drops or artificial tears
- Wearing blue light glasses may help reduce eyestrain and headaches
- Position your computer screen slightly below your line of vision
Why does my eyesight keep getting worse?
Our eyes naturally deteriorate as we age; however, lifestyle factors such as poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption can also affect your vision and lead to certain eye conditions. Looking after your overall health, exercising, and following a healthy diet can prevent your eyesight getting worse sooner than it might. Your eyesight might keep getting worse for the following reasons:
- An uncorrected refractive error
- Overexposure to harmful UVA and UVB light
- Genetics which can cause hereditary eye diseases such as glaucoma
- Age-related macular degeneration
Both pregnancy and stress are temporary factors that can cause your eyesight to get worse. Hormones during pregnancy can affect the quality of your vision, while stress can affect your eyesight by causing eyestrain, light sensitivity, dry and watery eyes.
If you experience changes in your vision, you should visit your optician immediately. They will be able to identify the underlying causes of these changes. If your eyesight is getting worse due to a refractive error, they may suggest correcting this with either contact lenses or glasses.
Can you heal your eyes naturally?
It is possible to help your eyes naturally with a healthy diet and exercise; however, it is not possible to correct your vision without vision aids. Refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia cannot be reversed but can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Some believe that eye exercises are a way to heal your eyes naturally and overcome myopia (nearsightedness). According to the Bates Method eyesight and visual acuity can be improved by ‘palming, sunning, visualisation, and eye movements. Nevertheless, there is no proof to suggest that doing these exercises work.