Some of us have been bitten by the bad luck bug of myopia. Some (like me) more severely than others. But, whether you have no myopia, minor myopia, severe myopia, or even myopia that has been surgically corrected, it is very important to maintain the health of your eyes over your lifetime. For the past couple years, leading up to my Visian ICL surgery, I have tried to implement these six simple things into my own maintenance of the health of my eyes. These six tips won’t completely correct anyone’s myopia but they are sure to keep those eyes healthy into your golden years.
You may think your vision is fine or that your eyes are healthy, but visiting your eye care professional is really the only way to be sure. Some people aren’t even aware that they could see much better with glasses or contact lenses or some kind of surgical correction. It is necessary to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist regularly in order to keep your eyes in good health. This way, diseases or other conditions can be successfully treated if they are caught early. Plus, many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration often have no warning signs. Most eye care professionals recommend seeing an eye doctor once, at least every two years, if you have minor to no myopia.
If you have somewhere in between minor and severe myopia, you should visit your eye care professional, at least once a year, for a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This is where your eye care professional will place dilating drops into your eyes. These drops will dilate, or widen, the pupil to allow more light to enter the eye the same way an open door lets more light into a dark room. It will enable your eye care professional to get a good look at the back of each eye and to examine for signs of damage or disease. If you are unsure how severe your myopia is or how often you should see your eye care professional, just ask them and they will be glad to inform you.
For someone like me, I need to make sure to make an eye care visit at least once a year normally. Right now, it feels like I’m going all the time but that is for my Visian ICL post op visits. Normally I must have a comprehensive dilated eye exam once a year as I have very thin corneas and retinas. At anytime, during my lifetime, my retina could detach because of the thinness. And it could just randomly happen for no real reason at all. It’s kind of scary, but that is one of the main reasons I have implemented all these healthy eyes tips. It is some real motivation, for me, to keep my eyes as healthy as possible.
Everyone’s eyes get tired or red every once in awhile. Sometimes you may get something in your eye that you just cannot get out. If that something that gets lodged in your eye is rigid or you’re not sure what it is don’t rub your eyes trying to remove it as this may tear delicate tissue or force the object in deeper. For these situations, if you don’t have any advanced eye relief eye wash, you should get a small, somewhat eye-sized cup that will fit snugly around your eye socket. Fill the cup with lukewarm water, as you don’t want to shock the eye with cold or very warm water. Bend your head down and position the cup snugly on your eye socket, then bend back so the water in the cup fills up your eye area. Then you should blink many times and move your eye around in a circular motion helping the water get in your eye. This should hopefully provide the relief you need or help dislodge the thing that has entered your eye.
Something I really think helps, when my eyes are feeling tired or they look red and irritated, is to get a wash towel and soak it with some warm water to make a warm compress. Then close your eyes and lay the warm compress across your eyes while applying some slight pressure to the compress. After my Visian ICL surgery, I used a warm compress quite often and it felt so good. Today, I can take more pressure to my eyes so I have switched from a warm compress to the shower faucet. I close my eyes while taking a warm shower and just let the warm water from the showerhead hit my eyes, it feels like a deep tissue massage for my eyes. Very refreshing!
Your eyes are very precious to you so, whenever necessary, keep them protected. Don’t take eye protection lightly, these protection measures could ensure lengthy eye health. Goggles or shields to wear during heavy physical activity or sports are a good form of protection. Be sure to wear your UVA or UVB protection sunglasses when out in the sun as well. You should also try to pull your eyes away from your TV screens and computer screens, after you read this post of course. Another big culprit is smart phone screens. Researchers have identified a few reasons why smart phones cause strain to the eyes. Because of the tiny screens and smaller fonts used on smart phones, the researchers found people generally hold their smart phones closer to their eyes than they would printed text. Study results showed people held their phones an average of only 12.6 inches away from their eyes while reading website text and 14 inches when looking at a text message. The average distance for printed text is nearly 16 inches. The researchers noted that font size on smart phones were an average of 20% smaller than printed text. In some cases, viewed fonts were 70% smaller. Because of the size and distance, our eyes have a harder time focusing on the print. The strain involves two processes called accomodation, the adjustment from near to far distance, and vergence, eye movement toward and away from one another. So, be mindful of these studies if you are reading this on your smart phone right now.
When you are experiencing symptoms such as eyestrain, blurred vision, headaches, increased sensitivity to bright light, tired eyes, or difficulty sustaining attention; you may need to take a break from whatever you are doing and incorporate some eye exercises to rejuvenate the muscles in your eyes and to keep them feeling healthy. You should incorporate the eye exercises into your daily routine at least once a day to prolong the health of the eye muscles, improve focus, eye movements, and stimulate the vision center of the brain.
The eye exercises to be used are usually unique to each person and vary depending on the person’s age and other existing eye problems. Here are a few examples of eye exercises:
Change focus of both eyes from near to far and back to near, switching as each distance becomes clear. This helps maintain flexibility of the muscle tissues that encircle your lenses and control your range of focus.
Look at a point straight ahead and, without moving your eyes, be conscious of as much peripheral information as possible. This will maximize the visual information your brain can take in.
Write inch-high numbers on tennis balls. Ask a friend to toss them at varying speeds and distances as you quickly try to read the numbers on the balls as they are moving. This trains the brain to work with the sensory aspect of vision.
Many more eye exercises can be found here.
Nutrition And Supplements
Overall nutrition plays a crucial role in keeping the eyes healthy. Studies show that breast feeding offers some protective benefit against myopia, likely, due to the advantages of omega-3 fatty acids. Obviously, keeping your diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is just good overall nutrition to live by. If you aren’t eating natural, grass fed foods or drinking raw milk then you should definitely be taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements like [embedit snippet=”krill-oil”] or fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of developing age related macular degeneration and can even stem the progression once it begins. Cutting out carbs from your diet, particularly refined grain, can also stop macular degeneration in it’s tracks. I take a hefty dose of fish oil daily and I recommend you do too.
Another very good supplement to be taking is Spirulina. Spirulina is cyanobacterium (blue-green algae) that grows in alkaline water. Spirulina is rich in protein and nutrients and has been used as a food source in Africa for centuries. You can find spirulina in powder or capsule form. It has rich antioxidant properties and therapeutic benefits. Spirulina is a rich dietary source of zeaxanthin, a xanthophyll. Xanthophyll are substances similar to carotenes, the pro-eye compounds found in carrots. Zeaxanthin is a xanthophyll that has nutritional importance to human eyes in that sufficient intake may reduce risk of cataracts and age related macular degeneration. It’s also very good for the liver.
Your eyes can be kept healthy by powerful antioxidants. The above mentioned Zeaxanthin, along with Lutein and Hawaiian Astaxanthin, are very powerful antioxidants that promote eye health. These antioxidant’s job is to neutralize dangerous free radicals in your body, including your eyes. These powerful nutrients can be found in eggs, spinach and other leafy green vegetables. I reccommend making it a point to include these foods, in their raw, undamaged form, in your diet. Once again, if you are lacking in these foods, then these nutrients can be found in supplement form.
Hawaiian Astaxanthin, mentioned earlier, is really the ultimate carotenoid for eye health and the prevention of blindness. It’s more powerful than lutein and zeaxanthin combined (although I take all of them). Hawaiian astaxanthin protects against cataracts, macular degeneration, cystoid macular edema, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and other inflammatory eye diseases like retinitis, iritis, keratitis, and scleritis.
Finally, one more nutrient that helps curtail uncolntrolled blood vessel growth in the eyes is Resveratrol. Resveratrol can be found in red wine. So, drink up and be sure to take your spirulina supplements to protect your eyes and your liver! You can also find resveratrol in supplement form.
I could go on and on about other supplements that promote eye health but then I don’t know if I would ever finish this blog post. So, I will list some of the other great vitamins and supplements:
– Vitamin A, C, E, D
Ever get that itchy eye feeling? Or redness of the eye? I’m sure most of us have gotten both sometime over the course of our lives. If so, don’t get those ‘red-eye remover’ type of eye drops. Stay away from ‘clear eyes’. Probably about 8 years back, I tried these red-eye remover type of eye drops and it was bad news. At first they seem to work very well, they cleared my eyes and got rid of any irritation. But when the medication wears off the eyes rebounded and become even more red than they were before! All they do is essentially ‘hook you on the drug’.
The kind of eye drops you want to look for are artificial tears that are preservative-free. The ones I use and that were highly recommended to me by my Visian ICL surgeon are [embedit snippet=”refresh-tears”]. I like to keep them stored in the fridge so when I drop them in my eye I get that nice cool relief feeling. So good!
Rest, Relax And Sleep
Just like it says rest, relax and sleep, all help with promoting healthy eyes. If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on your smart phone, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try resting your eyes by using the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce overall eyestrain.
Overall relaxation helps promote healthy eyes. Your thoughts can influence how well you see in part because your mind is the source of much of the stress from outside sources brought to bear upon your eyes. When a disturbing thought, like stress, is replaced by one that relaxes quinting disapates, double vision and errors of refraction are corrected. If the relaxation is only momentary, then the correction is also momentary. If the relaxation is permanent, the correction is permanent. Relax your eyes, your mind, and your body.
Finally, sleep is an ultimate relaxer and helps in resting and rejuvenating your eyes. Get plenty of sleep every night so the eye muscles have the chance to rebuild and rejuvenate.
Keeping your eyes healthy certainly takes some work. For the most part, if you follow these six tips for maintaining the health of your eyes, you will see the beauty this world has to offer. Take a moment to go outside at night and look up, it’d really be a shame if you weren’t able to see such wonders.