We live in a world that’s full of beauty but that doesn’t mean that the 21st century is easy on the eyes. In a world where so many of us are increasingly reliant on laptops, tablets, smartphones, and so many other devices (heck, even our watches have screens on them these days), we have to take extra care when it comes to maintaining our ocular health and protecting our eyesight. Many screens (as well as a lot of energy efficient bulbs) emit blue light which can be harmful to health, causing eye strain and throwing your body’s body's circadian rhythm or biological clock out of sync resulting in sleep loss and a whole host of other health problems.
Is sight loss an inevitability?
Many of us accept sight loss as an inevitability that comes naturally with age. It’s no coincidence that a lot of products from thermostats for the visually impaired to electronic lenses are marketed at the over 45s. While there’s no denying that your risk of sight loss increases with age, it’s far from inevitable. Yes, the lens of the human eye is soft and pliant with youth and gets harder and cloudier with age but this can be corrected with surgery and the risk mitigated by proper diet and maintaining a well moisturized, rested eye.
The importance of diet
Believe it or not the old wives tale that carrots help you see in the dark (while an over simplification) has a basis in scientific fact. Of course a healthy diet is important for general as well as ocular health but incorporating plenty of the following foods in your diet can help to maintain good eye health and vision. In today’s world of high fat, high sugar, high sodium convenience foods we face a constant threat to our eye health and overall health. Loading up on these natural goodies will help to maintain the health of your eyes.
- Fish and seeds contain omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and seeds can help to protect against dryness and degeneration and even cataracts,
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale are full of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that can help stymie macular degeneration and cataracts. Broccoli, peas and avocados are also great sources of these.
- Quinoa and other whole grains have a low glycemic index which helps to reduce the risk of age related macular degeneration.
- Citrus fruits and other foods high in vitamin C are linked to lower risk of cataracts.
- Nuts are also rich in omega 3s which are important in boosting your eye health.
Lower your risk of eye injury
Aside from age-related degeneration, injury is the most common cause of sight loss and the modern world brings with it unique threats that can damage our eyes. If you work with heavy machinery or play high impact sports such as squash it’s important to wear protective goggles to avert the risk of injury. Speaking of sports, studies indicate that regular exercise (even brisk walking) can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration by as much as 70 percent.
Regular eye checks
Finally, it’s important to engage regularly with your optician and get a comprehensive eye exam every two years. This way, any early signs of potentially damaging eye conditions can be identified and hopefully nipped in the bud while the efficacy of any eyeglasses or contact lenses you wear can be checked, thus reducing the risk of eye strain.