Thanks to Sears Optical, we have a national eye exam month in August. Before 1989, there was no such thing! This has turned out to be a great idea because most people don’t want to get their eyes checked, but many companies now run specials and even give free eye exams during August.
Taking care of your eyes now can make all the difference when you start to get older, and there are several ways to help them age more slowly. We’ll touch on a few of them, but there are several others that you can try in addition to our tips that may improve your eye health for your next eye exam!
1. Improve Your Food Intake.
Good eye health is a product of what you put in your body, so try to diversify your food sources. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards, salmon, tuna, eggs, nuts, beans, oranges and other citrus fruits or juices, oysters, and pork have a wide range of healthy fats and vitamins.
Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, lutein, and vitamins C and E can help age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. They also happen to be in the foods we just mentioned, but they aren’t all in each food source, so you’ll need to switch up your eating from time to time.
A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. A healthy diet will vastly improve your odds of avoiding obesity and other diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
2. Try Some Herbal Supplements
Several herbs and supplements can do wonders for protecting the integrity of your eye. There are more than we can count, but the key is sticking to a few that you enjoy and can implement regularly.
Green tea contains the compounds zeaxanthin, lutein, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which offer protection from numerous eye disorders. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that make the pigment in an area at the back of the eye that is key to our vision. These carotenoids filter out damaging blue light as well as ultraviolet light from the sun.
*Studies have shown that people who consume diets that have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin have lower risks of macular degeneration.
Antioxidants can benefit your eyes, and white tea is rich in antioxidants because it is not fermented like other teas (black tea is fully oxidized and green tea is partially oxidized) If you’re looking for antioxidants specifically, white tea has up to three times more than other teas!
This herb has been used for centuries for central nervous system issues and as to remedy eye ailments. Ginkgo biloba is a selective vascular dilator that increases circulation and blood flow to the back of the eye. Ginkgo has been associated with improvements for people suffering from glaucoma and macular degeneration.
*Researchers in Korea found in a study that gingko biloba extracts given to people with normal tension glaucoma had an improved vision.
These essential fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and help to maintain the fluidity in cell membranes. They have also been shown to protect the retina from oxidative damage. Consuming higher levels of fish and fish oil (both EPA and DHA) can help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.
It should be noted that to get an adequate amount, you will need to consume a fish oil supplement, but eating fish is still a great idea!
*Studies have shown that consuming plenty of omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce dry eye syndrome.
Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and medicinal benefits in many areas, and that includes the eyes. This popular spice encourages eye healthy by reducing the oxidation of the lens of the eye.
*Research shows that the anti-inflammatory compounds in the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can help relieve dry eye syndrome.
Note: Herbs are not intended to be the sole support for eye health, but to merely serve as a compliment to proper eye hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular eye exams. Some eye diseases are slow to progress and aren’t noticeable until the disease has become severe. Please consult with your optometrist and get regular eye exams.
3. Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s (UV) rays. Too much UV exposure (ultraviolet light) increases your chances of getting cataracts or macular degeneration in old age.
Some prescription glasses and contact lenses offer UV protection, but for those that don’t, it’s still a good idea to wear sunglasses. Certain contacts can even make your eyes more sensitive to sunlight, doubling the urgency for UV protection.
Everyone should aim for a pair that blocks 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Polarized lenses are also nice because they reduce the glare while you are driving and they look cool!
4. Look Away from the Computer Screen
Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause eyestrain, blurry vision, trouble focusing at a distance, dry eyes, headaches, neck, back, and shoulder pain. It is, therefore, important to take breaks and protect your eyes.
Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date if you look at a computer screen for hours a day. If your eye strain doesn’t go away, talk to your doctor about possibly getting computer glasses.
*Be sure to rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You should also get up from your seat every 2 hours (or more often if possible) and take a 5-15 minute break.
Take a Break
If you have any questions about kombuchas or our teas that might help your eye health, give us a call at (714) 884-3449. Or come by our shop at the historic Jabberwocky building located at 434 El Camino Real in Tustin. We have don’t do eye exams, but we can give you something that will help on your future ones!