The eyes are the windows to the soul. While we can survive without the sense of sight, life would be pretty darn difficult. That is why we need to take good care of our eyes; we only get one pair! When it comes to protecting those baby blues (or brown or black), here’s what you need to know:
1. Treat your allergies
Some people with allergies have reactions such as itchy or dry eyes, or both. The instinctive response is to rub them. This is a bad idea. While rubbing occasionally may give some immediate relief, it can also damage the cornea of the eyes. Using eye drops may be your solution, but the fact is that they don’t have the natural lubricating effect as natural tears. To ensure good eye health, treat your allergies so that the urge to rub or use eye drops will become minimised.
2. Take your vitamins
Some vitamins and minerals help to improve eye health. For example, vitamin B1 (thiamine) from carrots helps heighten night vision and zeaxanthin helps to prevent eye damage due to light. By consuming the correct foods, you protect and enhance your eyes, and they will thank you for it.
3. Take more lutein
Lutein is a vitamin that helps the macula to filter light so that there is less light entering our eyes to damage the retina. As such, your eye health can be retained much better and for longer. Lutein is present in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as kale, kiwis and spinaches, and it will be beneficial for your health (not just the eyes) to add them into your diet.
4. Wear sunglasses
Excessive UV rays are damaging to both the skin and the eyes too. As much as possible, wear sunglasses when you anticipate being under the bright sun for long periods of time. Unless you are playing an outdoor sport, there is no reason to needlessly subject your eyes to UV rays that will cause them to deteriorate. Make sure that the lenses of the sunglasses are properly rated to filter out UV rays.
5. Get more Omega-3s
Omega-3s are another group of nutrients that can improve your eye health. They help to maintain healthy eyes and also promote proper tear production for ocular lubrication. Rich sources of omega-3s include salmon, walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds. These are foods which can be incorporated into a myriad of recipes including desserts, so you can practically eat your way to better eyes!
Staring is not only seen as rude in most societies, but it is also bad for your eyes. With long periods of not blinking, your eyes will become dry and irritated, and also lead to the accumulation of dead surface cells that can lead to inflammation. As odd as it sounds, don’t forget to blink! The action not only benefits the physiology of the eye, but it also gives them the short break that it deserves. This means taking short breathers where you close your eyes without sleeping is very much justified as far as health is concerned.
2. Use electronic gadgets in the dark
Even when the lights go out in the bedroom, some of us have the tendency to stay up while looking at the screens of our smartphone or tablet. Bad choice. Certain electronics like computers emit blue light that are high-energy and can cause eye strain. Some devices do have settings to reduce the blue light, but the best thing to do is to simply hit the sack like you ought to be doing.
3. Reuse or overuse contacts
Contact lenses are breeding grounds for bacteria. Even if you clean them properly with solution, there will always be some bacteria clinging to your lenses and multiplying. Reusing or overusing contacts can introduce bacteria into your eyes, causing infections which leads to blurry vision and itchiness. Even if you are using daily’s, there is also risk of introducing bacteria from your finger. Instead of wearing contacts every day, mitigate it and return to your trusty spectacles on those days when contacts aren’t absolutely necessary.
4. Stare at the television
Television is one of the aforementioned electronics that emit blue light and there is a higher tendency for us to stare at it due to what’s happening on the screen. Be mindful enough to blink and rest your eyes for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of TV – it reduces the amount of fatigue and strain experienced by them.
5. Sleep with make up
Sleeping with make up on is one of the worst things you can do to your skin, but it is also bad for the eyes. Make up like eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara are so close to your eyes that they can introduce bacteria into them and cause an infection if you’re not careful. The best bet is then to remove all make up before you go to sleep to prevent any risk of developing an eye condition.
We often take our eyes for granted since we’re rarely aware that we’re using them acutely. The truth is that like every part of the body, the eyes also go through its own stages of aging. Just as how you take care of your skin to keep it youthful, similar care should be given to your eyes in order for them to keep working well.