Maintaining Good Eyesight
Good eye health is perhaps our most precious gift. Just imagine slowly losing your vision and general eye health as you get older. It doesn’t sound very inviting, does it? Deteriorating eye health and increasingly poor vision are a fact of life for millions of Americans from middle age onward. Most people over the age of 40 experience Presbyopia, also known as “old eyes”. As we age, our lenses lose their flexibility. By age 50, most of us require reading glasses and we have to hold reading materials further and further from our eyes. The ability of the lens to alter its shape in order to focus on objects brought close to the eye is called “accommodation”. The ability to accommodate is a basic, but important “biological age” test bio-marker. Modern living re-enforces this age-related tendency of the lens to lose its ability to accommodate. Only recently have most of us performed sustained near vision tasks for year after year beginning at a young age.
6 Health Tips to Maintain Good Eyesight
Recent studies show that at least two servings of fatty, omega-3 rich seafood not only helps your eyesight but your heart as well.
Best sources: Salmon, trout, sardines, herring and Arctic char, fish-oil capsules
Nuts have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that affect eye health since they may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Add: 1/4 cup of nuts a few times a week
Protect your eyes from damaging UV light with this phytochemical found in many veggies.
Best sources: Spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, rapini
Lesser amounts: Green peas, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, nectarines and oranges.
There is some evidence that zinc can benefit eye health but findings from studies using zinc supplements have been mixed.
Best sources: Oysters, seafood, red meat, poultry, yogurt, wheat bran, wheat germ, whole grains and enriched breakfast cereals
Vitamins C, E and beta-carotene fight against free radicals that damage cells in your body.
Best source of vitamin C: Citrus fruit, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, red
pepper and tomato juice
Best source of vitamin E: Wheat germ, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, whole grains, kale
Best source of Beta-carotene: Dark green vegetables, carrots, winter squash, sweet potato, nectarines, peaches, mango, papaya
Low glycemic foods
Avoid eating high glycemic foods such as refined (white) carbohydrates and sugary products that may contribute to inflammation and cause oxidative damage to your cells.
Best source of low glycemic foods: Beans, lentils, nuts, pasta, brown rice, sweet potatoes, steel-cut or large-flake oatmeal, oat bran and bran cereals, apples, oranges, peaches, pears, berries, yogurt, milk and soy beverages.
Good Eye Care Habits
Do Not Read Closely
When you are reading, please hold your book as far as possible (e.g. about 40 – 50 cm away). Do not slouch or crane your neck when reading. Hold the book at a slight angle to get a better view.
Make sure your reading posture, and sit with your back straight, your neck and shoulder muscle should be relaxed. You may need to adjust your table and chair for better posture.
Do Not Read in Bad Light
Check to ensure that the lighting is bright enough to read a book or do any near vision work without having to strain your eye and yet not too bright as to cause glare. Since lighting have limited life span and will get dimmer after a year of usage, remember to change the light bulbs at home regularly.
If you still find the lighting in your room not bright enough, you can use a reading light to supplement room lighting. When the lighting is dim, there is a tendency to hold the book too close to the eyes and therefore aggravating myopia. The reading lamp should be positioned close with its light shining from the side. Leaving the room lighting on would help to reduce any reflected glare by the reading lamp.
Incandescent or Fluorescent Lighting Which is Better?
There is no scientific research to show that one light source is better than the other. Therefore you can decide based on your own preference.
Take Breaks Relax Your Eyes
If you are wearing glasses, you can take your glasses off and rest your eyes at this time. As the eyes tend to dry out when doing prolong near vision work, you should blink more frequently to sooth the eyes. Do some eye relaxation exercises to relieve the eye strain?
Computers and Eye Strain
Working in front of the computer screen is another form of near vision work. Therefore, it is important to schedule regular rest breaks for the eyes. Be mindful to adopt the correct sitting posture and view habits to prevent eye problem.
Fit an anti-glare screen on your monitor. If you have to refer frequently to a document, use a document holder and position it at the same distance and level as you eyes. Maintain a distance of at least 50m between your eyes and the computer screen. This is slightly more than the normal reading distance. The gaze should be directed down. Sit up straight. Do not slouch or crane your neck. Keep the neck and shoulders muscles relaxed. Have the centre of the monitor positioned below your eye label by 15 to 20cm.
Playing computer games (as with handheld video games) are particularly strenuous and playing time should be limited to 30 minute session.
Our eye is more susceptible to myopia development at night. Therefore, go to bed early and avoid doing homework at night. Turn off the room lights when sleeping.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), smoking is the cause of more death and disease than any other single habit.
We have all heard about the evil effects of cigarette smoking on our lungs and heart, but there has been little mention of the adverse effects of smoking on vision.
The following 10 steps can help reduce increased visual stress and maintain proper eye health and vision:
Look up and away often when performing prolonged near vision tasks.
The lighting focused on your work area should be three times brighter than that in the rest of the room. Never use a single lamp for reading and eliminate all glare.
Sit up straight and keep your work at eye level.
Try to maintain a distance of 14 to 16 inches from the eyes when performing near vision tasks.
Avoid the temptation to recline. Sit upright while you’re reading or watching television.
While writing, hold your pen at least one inch from the tip to prevent having to tilt your head to see your words as you write.
Place your TV at a distance of at least 7 times the width of the screen.
Get involved in outdoor activities that require using distance vision.
Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of all colors. Supplement this diet with anti-oxidants and botanicals that are known to promote good eye health.
Wear black-gray and green-gray sunglasses because these colors pass the full spectrum of colors evenly without distortion.