Eyes are rich sensory organs (so practically speaking, they have feelings!). They eyes are happier when they are healthier – they function better and for longer, and there is less need to seek care from optometrists and ophthalmologists. Five general everyday tips are included below that could be used to keep your eyes in good health.
1. Protect your eyes from the sun
UV (ultraviolet) rays, which are given off by direct sunlight, can be harmful to your skin and eyes. If you have consistent sun exposure, without proper eye protection, there is a higher risk of developing cataracts. Certain UV rays of greater intensity are also more aggressive towards the retina. Your thin skin around your eyes can also develop skin cancer and wrinkles. Be sure to wear UV-protective sunglasses even on cloudy days.
2. Have a well-balanced, nutrient rich diet
Eating bright and colourful vegetables can help protect and fortify your eyesight. Orange carrots are full of beta carotene, which is the precursor of Vitamin A. This vitamin is a valuable antioxidant that helps reduce molecular stress and renew cells in the eyes. Oranges and peppers contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E, zeaxanthin, and lutein. These nutrients lower your risk of developing macular degeneration. Green vegetables, like broccoli, kale, lettuce, and peas, also contain valuable nutrients for your cornea and other eye structures. Some light cooking will keep most of their nutrients intact.
3. Don’t smoke
The free-radicals in tobacco smoke make smoking harmful to the eye in two main ways. Firstly, the direct irritation caused by the smoke coming into contact with the eye, which irritates and damages the cornea. The free radicals are responsible for damaging the lipids and proteins in the eyes and causing deposits to form on the surface of the eye’s lens— leading to cataract development. Secondly, there are systemic effects of smoking reduces blood oxygen, damages the blood vessels and causes widespread inflammation. The cumulative effect of this could cause damage to the insulating layer between the retina and the blood vessels that nourish it, potentially leading to degeneration of the macula, which is responsible for receiving light at the centre of the eye.
4. Take regular eye breaks
If you are concentrating on your computer or general work tasks at a desk all day, you can develop eye strain. To rest your eyes, try to concentrate on blinking – it is easy to forget when you are very focused. Try blink for three to four seconds at a time for about two minutes. This will help lubricate your eyes. The tears will cleanse your eyes to improve your focus. It is also valuable to rest your eyes completely from your tasks. For example, every 20 minutes, you could look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Exercise improves blood flow throughout the body and removes waste products from all your organs. Exercise is especially good for supplying the retina and optic nerve with important nutrients so that they work optimally. Exercise is also important for corneal nourishment. Additionally, long-term exercise has the effect of reducing the pressure inside your eyes, which prevents permanent damage to your optic nerve. Without a working optic nerve, light signals will not be sent from the eye to the brain, causing vision loss. However, it is important to not be too strenuous with exercise (e.g. with very heavy weights) as this can cause damage! Equally, if you feel pain in your eyes during exercise, it is advisable to take a break and seek medical attention if the problem persists.