Maintaining a healthy eyesight should always be high on our lists when it comes to looking after our bodies. We rely on our eyesight the most and its impact on the quality of life can never be under-estimated. Eye fatigue and age-related vision problems are growing by the day due to the increase in how often we stare at smaller images and fonts on our smart phones, tablets, computer screens, televisions and other similar electronic devices.
The human eyesight slowly diminishes with age, but besides the natural ageing process, our lifestyle and habits can adversely speed up the rate at which our vision diminishes. The good news, however is that, there are number of tips from eye expects on how to improve eyesight naturally.
It is worth mentioning that these tips on how to improve eyesight naturally can help to maintain and potentially improve eye health, especially if the problem is age related. Serious eye problems such as hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism, on the other hand, will have to be referred to an eye specialist for corrective measures to be taken.
Before proceeding further, let’s take a quick look at some myths associated with eyesight improvement;
6 Eyesight Myths….
- Myth 1 – Nothing Can Be Done To Prevent Loss Of Vision: Detection of an eye problem at its earliest onset plays a major role in how effective and successful its treatment becomes. Signs and symptoms of early vision problems include, pain in or around the eye ( can be either recurrent pain or sudden and severe), blurred or double vision, seeing flashes of light, swollen red eyes, itching and or heavy discharge in the eyes, and sudden changes in vision, just to mention a few. These symptoms should be reported to the doctor as early as possible. There are treatments that can stop, correct, or slow down vision loss, depending on the cause of the eye problem.
- Myth 2 – Wearing glasses Or Contacts Worsens Your Eyesight: Prescribed eyeglasses are designed to correct blurred vision, so the notion, that wearing contacts adversely affects eyesight is completely untrue. Prescribed contact lenses are meant to be used to improve vision, therefore wearing these lenses does not in any shape or form make the eyes dependent on the glasses. Wearing prescription glasses all the time helps improve eyesight and prevents an existing vision problem from getting worse.
- Myth 3 – Reading In Poor Light Negatively Affects Vision: The notion, that reading in poor light affects eyesight and causes shortsightedness is very untrue. Yes, your eyes may get strained and tired, but your vision won’t b affected. This eyestrain is caused by the eyes’ low blink rate when reading in the dark.
- Myth 4 – Sitting Close To TV Screens Or Computer Monitors Damages Eyesight: Another false notion! Yes, sitting close to a television screen or staring at a computer monitor for an extended period of time may give you a headache, dry eyes and or an eyestrain, but surely does not damage your eyesight. Children often develop the habit of sitting close to television screens, holding electronic and reading materials close to their eyes, but there is no evidence that this habit damages their eyesight. The good news however, is that, this habit usually diminishes as children get older.
- Myth 5 – Squinting Damages Eyesight: Believe it or not, your eyesight will not be affected in any way if you decide to squint from morning to evening. If you do however notice that you always need to squint to see clearly, then it’s time to see an optician.
- Myth 6 – Crossing The Eye Can Make Them Permanently Crossed: False! The human eye has the natural ability to look in multiple directions, right, left, up or down. Looking in these different directions does not force the eyes to permanently stay crossed. Crossed eyes (also known as strabismus) is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place or direction at the same time. Crossed eyes usually occurs when due to some weaker eye muscles, the muscles around your eyes don’t work together or you suffer a nerve damage. Crossed eyes can also be caused by physical disorders such as eye injuries, stroke, cerebral palsy or farsightedness.
As stated earlier, there are a number of tips from eye expects on how to improve eyesight naturally. Below are some tips for your reading pleasure!
1. Gives Eyes A Rest By Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
Since the eyes are constantly worked up throughout the working day, ensure you give your eyes adequate break throughout the day and ensure you have a good sleep at night. This allows the eyes to relax, rest, repair and recover from all the strain they’ve been put under. Healthy amounts of sleep helps overworked and tired eyes to recover and therefore improve vision.
For an improvement in eye and overall body health, you should be aiming for 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
2. Naturally Improve Eyesight Through The Right Diet
Just like any other part of the human body, the human eye needs the right nutrition in order to function properly. The human eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally. Adjust your diet by ensuring you eat a balanced diet rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E.
Antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein help protect the eye from eye damage. Dark leafy vegetables, pumpkins, and carrots are good examples of good sources of these antioxidants.
Good sources of vitamins A, C and E include carrots, sweet potato, almonds, pumpkin, oranges, grapes, apricot, spinach, papaya, broccoli and peanut butter, just to mention a few.
Nutrients such as cysteine and sulfur help protect the lens of the eyes from cataract formation. Great sources of such nutrients include onions, garlic and shallots.
Omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in reducing the risk of age-related eye problems. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish, beans, nuts and seeds.
Avoid eating junk, greasy and sugary foods as these foods are low in nutrients and can damage eyesight over time. Sticking to a healthier diet improves your overall health as well as eyesight.
3. Stay Active By Exercising Regularly
The human eye relies on good blood flow and oxygen. Getting the heart rate up by regularly exercising boosts the circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body. This helps to maintain eye health and prevent eye dryness.
4. Say NO To Smoking And Drinking
Numerous studies have shown smoking and excessive drinking have adverse effects on our overall health. Besides health risks such as cancer, smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, optical nerve damage, glaucoma, cataracts, uveitis and diabetic retinopathy. Non-smokers are to avoid products made with tobacco as well as being around someone smoking.
On the other hand, excessive drinking can damage the optic nerve which the human brain relies on to transmit images. Drinking can also weaken the muscles in and around your eyes which can then lead to visual impairment.
Quit smoking and drinking and observe how beneficial your changed lifestyle positively affects your overall health.
5. Stay Hydrated
Increasing your daily water intake helps to prevent eye dryness as well as improve tired eyes and blurred vision. Besides its positive effect on eye health, proper hydration enables the body to function properly. The effect of proper hydration on overall health should not be under-estimated as it can reduce the number of trips you make to the hospital.
6. Say YES To Sunglasses And Protective Eyewear
Generally, regular eyeglasses are not able to provide appropriate protection from hazards and impacts. Therefore, wearing protective eyewear (eg. safety glasses, goggles and shields) helps to prevent damage and injuries to eyes from impacts and debris, especially when working in a potentially hazardous environment or involved in activities that increase the risk of injuring your eyes.
Sunglasses on the other hand, are designed to protect the eyes from ultraviolet(UV) light. Exposure to ultraviolet light can weaken your eyes and lead to eye damage over time. The sun’s ultraviolet light can increase the risk of getting eye cancer and cataracts. UV rays occur even in winter, so it is essential to protect your eyes all year round.
Apart from sunglasses, you can also choose to wear a hat with a wide brim or a visor to protect the eyes from the sun.
7.Check Eye Health By Obtaining Regular Eye Exam
According to eye expects, the best way to ensure eye health hasn’t changed or worsened is to get regular eye check-ups from a qualified ophthalmologist. Regular eye exams help to detect eye problems such as macular degeneration and glaucoma at their early stages and aid in maintaining vision and eye health.
The earlier a potential eye problem is detected, the better!
From eye expects, the ophthalmologist should be seen at least once a year to check vision and eye health.
8. Properly Manage Chronic Health Conditions
Certain chronic health conditions can contribute to vision problems, especially at an older age. Getting appropriate medical attention for these chronic conditions can help reduce the risk of developing vision problems.
Chronic health conditions that may result in eye and vision problems include: stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, kidney disease, liver disease, asthma, hepatitis, hearing impairment and thyroid disease, just to mention a few.
Most autoimmune diseases can have negative effects on vision as well. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system, instead of protecting the body against germs like viruses and bacteria, rather mistakenly attacks the body. Some of these autoimmune diseases include multiple sclerosis, lupus, reiter’s syndrome, behcet disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sjogren’s syndrome and psoriasis.
9. Properly Manage Diabetes
Properly managing diabetes should be part of number 8 above, but it deserved to be on its own since it is a big issue when it comes to eye and overall health. Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the retina( back of the eye). The poorer your blood sugar levels, the higher your risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy can cause impaired vision and blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated. Properly managing blood sugar levels coupled with regular eye exams can help reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.
10. Say YES To Good Hygiene
Well, the inclusion of good hygiene on this list should not be a surprise to us. Practicing good hygiene is not only vital for overall wellbeing, it is indeed very vital for preventing eye infections as well. The importance of basic hygiene such as regularly washing hands and face should never be under-estimated.
In order to prevent eye infections, it is very important that hands are washed clean before touching eyes and contact lenses.
Makeup and cosmetics should be kept out of the eyes and washed off the face when not needed. Old eye makeup can also increase the risk of developing an eye infection.
11. Take Breaks From Computer And TV Screens
Focusing on computer and TV screens for a long period of time can cause fatigue or eyestrain. Blue light from the screens of computers and televisions can strain the eyes and cause dryness when looked at for an extended period of time.
Taking occasional screen breaks like a 10-minute break for every hour of computer use is always highly recommended. Another tip is to use the 20-20-20 rule. According to this rule, for every 20 minutes of screen time, look away from the screen at something at about 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. This helps to reduce the dryness and strain your eyes go through.
Look After Your Eyes And Your Eyes Will Look After You!….
The above mentioned tips on how to improve eyesight naturally should not be a difficult task to ask of us. Looking after our very own eyes should indeed not be too much to ask. The most important organs of sense, by far, are our eyes. Studies show we receive up to 80% of our impressions through our sight.
Out there, there are other tips on how to improve eyesight, not covered in this article. Tips like regularly exercising the eyes have been suggested as being an effective way to maintain healthy eyes and optimal vision. Spend some time to check out different eye exercise and share your observations with us.
Please leave any comments, questions and suggestions in the comments section below.