Sunglasses are important to protect your eyes, but the health of your eyes is also important. And with current times when everyone is engrossed in their laptops more than ever, it’s vital that you take care of your eyes.
With a combination of things—for starters, the right diet and the right pair of sunglasses. Because it’s important not just look good, but feel good too.
On that note, there is everything you need to know about eye health.
Key Eye health tips
Wearing sunglasses when outdoors
Your trusty pair of shades will help you block ultraviolet rays (UV) from the sun, you knew that, right? UV rays (over a long period of time) can damage/harm your corneas, and weaken your eyesight. But if you have a good pair of polarised sunglasses, it will help filter that out.
Smoking is proven to cause problems like macular degeneration in your eye and cataracts along with a host of diseases that we don’t have to mention.
Maintaining a healthy weight
This is one of the vital attributes to not just eye health, but for smooth functioning of bodily functions. Eating and maintaining a healthy body weight is important. Healthy weight implies that would have the right nutrients and vitamins to a healthier lifestyle.
Wearing eye gear when engaging in outdoor activities
Most people disregard this, but it’s important to understand that eye problems take years to manifest. And since the eyes are one of the most vital organs, it’s smart to keep them protected. For instance, if you are running then it becomes even more important. Reports show that only 5% of folks who go for a run in the morning or participate in races actually use sunglasses. It’s always good to carry sunglasses for times like these because it helps cut out glare from the sun and make navigation easy. Sunglasses that are crafted for running are equipped with elements that can add to your vision.
Managing blood sugar
Interesting, high blood sugar levels make your vision go blurry. Then there is Hypoglycemia or low blood glucose level. Other results show that high blood sugar causes the lens of the eye to swell, which changes your ability to see.
Visiting an eye doctor every one to two years
This goes without saying. Most people go to the doctor only when they have ailments, but seeing a doctor once in a while can be a good idea. For instance, eye tests can track diseases, like glaucoma, that have no signs. It’s vital to spot them early on because they are easier to treat.
Eye health vitamins
The following supplements are helpful for some the entire body.
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids. Carotenoids are nothing but pigments found in plants. Interestingly, they are also found in your retina. Enhancing these pigments helps surge their density in your retina. Further, they have properties that absorb blue and ultraviolet light that can harm your eyes.
Zinc is an antioxidant that shields against cell damage. They are produced in your eyes too. But we recommend that you combine this antioxidant with copper-based supplements.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Vitamin B1 is vital for eye health. There is research that shows beneficial sides of the supplement when taken with other vitamins reduce the risk of diseases like cataracts.
Further, it's also known to bring down stress and reduces inflammation.
Vitamin B1 can also be effective in treating Uveitis—an inflammatory eye condition that can cause blindness.
Omega-3 fatty acids
This one’s the boss, no wonder it’s present in all the superfoods. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for eye health and can be found in fish. Also, the photoreceptors cells in your retina comprise a large quantity of omega-3 fatty acid, so it’s a good idea to build on that. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid, helps in the development of retinal cells. Omega-3 also helps in cutting down inflammation and helping cells of the retina and the cornea heal and regenerate after damage due to light exposure and ageing.
Individuals who include omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in their diet are less likely to suffer from macular degeneration. Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids might lead to dry eye syndrome and retinopathy—an ailment that causes progressive damage to the retina.
Studies show that vitamin C reduces the risk of developing cataracts. There are studies which suggest that a combination of vitamins C and E supplements reduced the risk for cataracts and slowed the progression of cataracts.
Foods good for the eyes
Dark Leafy Greens
Kale and spinach top the list of lutein-rich foods because the carotenoids lutein and Zeaxanthin are primarily found in green leafy vegetables. Other healthy options include Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are central nutrients for eye health since both of them are found in high levels in your macula—the small central part of your retina accountable for detailed central vision.
Lutein is also found in your macular pigment which is known for helping to protect your central vision and aid in blue light absorption and zeaxanthin is found in your retina.
They have been associated with a lower risk of cataracts and advanced macular degeneration.
Leafy green vegetables are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin and are also a good source of vitamin C.
Some popular leafy vegetables are Spinach, kale, collards and more.
According to the British Journal of Ophthalmology orange pepper is known to have the highest amount of zeaxanthin of the 33 fruits and vegetables tested.
The body cannot produce Zeaxanthin, so you must get it from your diet.
Egg yolk is your healthy source of lutein and zeaxanthin along with fat and protein. Recent research has found out that adding a couple of eggs to your salad can boost up the carotenoid absorption from the whole meal to up to about nine-fold. Isn’t that great?
The one thing that you have to keep in mind is to cook your eggs as little as possible. Once you heat egg yolks (or spinach) the lutein and zeaxanthin in them get damaged, and will not add in your vision. We would recommend that you keep them poached, soft-boiled, or raw.
This one’s also a superfood because it is packed with omega-3s! This supplement is found in the in the retina of your eye. It delivers structural support to cell membranes that boost eye health and protect retinal function. Research has shown that eating more foods rich in these fats slow macular degeneration.
Individuals with higher intake of animal-based omega-3 fats have a 60% lower risk of advanced macular degeneration compared to those who have omega-3 in lower levels.
A study in 2009 found out “Those with the highest omega-3 fats in the body were 30% less likely to progress to the advanced form of the disease over a 12-year period.
A second study concluded in 2009 found that those with higher diets in omega-3 fats, along with vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin, had a lower risk of macular degeneration. Many fish are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you are not keen on a diet of fish then fish oil capsules of higher EPA and DHA will be ideal. Fishes like tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and sardines are high on omega-3s.
Some studies have found that fish oil can reverse dry eye, including dry eye caused by spending too much time on a computer.
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Blackcurrants contain some of the highest levels of anthocyanins found in nature — approximately 190-270 milligrams per 100 grams — which is far more than that found in even bilberries. They're also rich in essential fatty acids, lending added support to their anti-inflammatory properties.
Anthocyanins are flavonoids, and the health benefits of these antioxidants are extensive.
Bilberry, a close relative of the blueberry, is another nutritional powerhouse for your eyes. Blackberries also contain high amounts of anthocyanins, just like the blackcurrant (but contrary to black currant, bilberries tend to be difficult to grow and cultivate). Anthocyanin-rich bilberry extract has a protective effect on visual function during retinal inflammation.
Nuts and legumes
Nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts also have high levels of vitamin E, which can protect the eye from age-related damage.
There are some nuts and legumes that are great for eye health: Walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews peanuts and lentils.
Like nuts and legumes, seeds are high in omega-3s and are a rich source of vitamin E too.
Seeds high in omega-3 are Chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. Just like vitamin E, vitamin C is an antioxidant that is recommended by the AOA to fight age-related eye damage.
This snack time vegetable won’t make you see better, but protect your vision for sure! Because? Carrots contain a lot of vitamin A, and there have been several studies recently showing that this vitamin. This along with vitamins C and E it helps reduce the impact of both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. And the good bit is that they go well with everything you make—salads, snacks, you name it.
Like carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. They are also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E.
Beef is rich in zinc, which has been linked to better long-term eye health. Zinc can help delay age-related sight loss and macular degeneration.
The eye itself contains high levels of zinc, particularly in the retina, and the vascular tissue surrounding the retina.
Meats such as chicken breast and pork loin also contain zinc, but at lower levels than beef.
It may come as no surprise that a fluid essential to life is also vital to eye health. Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration, which may reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.
This all-purpose protein is delicious in chilli, burgers, tacos, sandwiches, and more. It's also loaded with zinc and B-vitamin niacin, which can help prevent cataracts.
If you’ve found yourself reaching for your glasses more often than before, adding some squash to your diet may help. Squash is packed with vitamin A, which can aid in good eye health.
According to studies “The vitamin A in squash plays an important role in vision. It provides vision in low light and the antioxidant beta-carotene aids in the protection of the eye against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.”
In addition to its sight improving qualities, squash is also high in vitamin C and fiber, helping you build a healthy immune system while keeping you full.
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