Healthy Habits for Healthy Eyes
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It’s easy to overlook your eyes when it comes to healthy living. But just as your whole body benefits from frequent exercise and a good diet, so do your eyes.
Making a few simple changes to your lifestyle can help improve your eye health and reduce the risk of developing common eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.
Don’t take your eyes for granted. Consider these healthy lifestyle tips to keep your peepers at their peak fitness.
Regular Exercise Can Keep Your Vision Healthy
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We all know that exercise can benefit your waistline, your heart and your energy levels, and is also good for your mind, mood, and memory. However, there’s another reason to dust off your gym shoes: your eyesight.
Several studies over the last decade have found that regular exercise can reduce the risk of contracting common eye ailments such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma.
Few people are aware that exercise can also help prevent health problems that may indirectly affect your eyesight. For example, diabetes can damage the blood vessels in your eye, causing them to swell or leak – a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. In very severe cases, it can lead to sight loss. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can also affect your eyesight and lead to eye disease.
Exercise is the most effective way to reduce the risk of developing serious health problems, and eye disease. The good news is, you don’t need to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits. A brisk walk around the block, a gentle yoga class or a few lengths of your local pool all provide wonderful benefits.
Is your diet affecting your vision?
We all know that a good diet is the foundation of good health. Our diet has been linked to a number of health benefits including the prevention of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. It has also been shown to play a big role in maintaining eye health and protecting our vision from the eye conditions mentioned above. In fact, our eyes are complex organs that need many different vitamins and nutrients to function properly.
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and other wholesome foods can help protect your sight. Here are a few key foods to consider for healthy and happy eyes.
Carrots. You probably grew up being told that eating carrots could help your eyesight – even make you see in the dark. As it turns out, Mum and Dad were on to something. While carrots won’t give you supervision, they do contain lots of beta carotene and Vitamin A, which plays a huge role in helping maintain eyesight. Sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, mango and liver are also rich in Vitamin A.
Citrus fruits, like lemons, oranges and grapefruits, are high in vitamin C which is thought to maintain healthy cells and tissues in the eye.
Nuts and seeds, particularly almonds and sunflower seeds, are rich in vitamin E. This powerful antioxidant is believed to protect eye cells from unstable molecules known as free radicals.
Oily Fish, such as salmon, trout and mackerel are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can protect against cataracts, dry eye syndrome and even macular degeneration.
Egg yolks are high in lutein, a type of carotenoid that accumulates in the pigment of the retina and is thought to filter out harmful forms of light.
Leafy green vegetables and superfoods, like kale, parsley, spinach, broccoli and peas, also contain nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help ward off oxidants and prevent serious eye conditions.
Simple Habits to Maintain Healthy Eyes
There are a few simple things you can do every day to help keep your eyes in shape.
Avoid smoking. Studies have shown a strong link between smoking and the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Smokers are also more likely to suffer from dry eye, so it’s time to kick the habit.
Wear sunglasses. You likely wear sun cream to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but your eyes need protection from the sun, too. Many people mistakenly believe that contact lenses protect the eyes from sun damage, yet even UV blocking contact lenses should be supported with a pair of sunglasses.
Get a good night’s sleep. Our eyes need a minimum of five hours sleep per night to replenish themselves and function properly. Lack of sleep can lead to your eyes becoming fatigued, itchy and sore, and you’ll likely experience eye twitches.
Get a regular eye exam. Even if you think you have perfect vision, it is recommended that you have an eye examination once every two years. As it turns out, our eyes are often a very effective window to our overall health. Not only can your eye doctor detect problems with your eyesight, but an eye examination can also uncover other health problems.