Most of us are more than familiar with the raft of health problems associated with smoking and second-hand smoke, but did you know tobacco use is a preventable cause of blindness?
Eye health encompasses much more than just clarity of vision and regular eye exams are an important way to stay on top of your overall well being.
If you think about the good things you can do for healthy eyes, eating well is a pretty appealing option. In popular culture we often associate carrots with good vision, but the truth is there are delicious superfood choices for all tastes, and each stand to benefit your eyes:
Orange foods – Carrots are indeed good for your eyes, but so are yams and sweet potatoes. All three are chock full of beta carotene, an anti-oxidant known for cutting risk associated with macular degeneration and cataracts.
Leafy greens – More anti-oxidant power here in the form of lutein and zeaxanthin! These are found in spinach and kale and they protect against UV damage from sun exposure.
Vitamin C rich fruits and veggies – It’s always a smart choice to add strawberries, grapefruit, bell peppers and broccoli to your menu. Vitamin C is also a strong contender in counteracting harmful UV rays.
Chickpeas and other legumes – Grab the hummus and dig in with cut up peppers and carrots for an extra dose of goodness for your eyes. In this case Zinc is the magic ingredient which your liver needs in order to create and drive Vitamin A to the retina to produce melanin (a key protector against ultraviolet light).
Turkey – Zinc and Niacin, a B vitamin, are found in abundance in this lean meat. This combo delivers UV protection and can help prevent cataracts.
Making smart food choices can also help with maintaining a healthy weight, so it’s really a win-win.
Did you know? Overweight and obese individuals are at an increased risk for a number of eye diseases and conditions including diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
There is a great deal of awareness around many aspects of living with Alzheimer’s disease, but did you know that eye health and visual acuity can also be affected?
For many students, January can mean culminating activities and exams as the term comes to an end. Spending a lot of time looking at books and computer screens can lead to eye strain. Follow these tips to look after your eyes, or to help your kids to remember what they can do.
Books & Screens
It used to be that cramming and studying involved paper, books and blackboards, but students today are met with information to absorb across multi-media. Studying very often involves a lot of time on digital screens, which can lead to computer vision syndrome.
As the Canadian Association of Optometrists notes:
Having uncorrected hyperopia or myopia ,astigmatism or presbyopia can all make computer use less comfortable and efficient. Depending on your condition, your eyes could be exerting extra effort or be forced to work harder to maintain a clear image when viewing the screen. Even people with perfect vision may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, eyestrain and headaches with prolonged computer use.
Good habits around prolonged screen use can go a long way to helping to reduce strain, including:
- using good habits around how you’re positioned in relation to your screen (for PC screens, this means at least arm’s length, and it’s a good idea to try the same with your phone)
- taking 20-20-20 breaks, which means looking away from your screen at something at least 20 feet away from you for a minimum of 20 seconds every 20 minutes (it’s a great chance to have a stretch and take a body break at the same time)
- finding other ways to chill during mini breaks that don’t involve yet more screen use so you really give your eyes a rest
Easing the Strain
If long days and evenings of study are taking a toll, you can give eyes a break by making an eye mask – this can be as simple as a cool, damp facecloth placed on your eyes, or chilled tea bags or cucumber slices. Saline eye drops can be helpful if dry eye is a real problem.
If you wear contacts, remember not to over wear them – if you’re pulling really long hours, stick to your routines for when you normally remove your contact lenses and instead use your backup glasses for a change.
See an Eye Doctor About Any Ongoing Issues
Don’t suffer in silence if ongoing headaches or visual problems are present during or after study periods. You or your child may be experiencing a genuine issue that should be explored with your eye doctor.
We’re always focused on your eyes and this month we encourage you to consider the eye health of everyone in your family.
Young Children and Eye Care
Many people don’t realize that children should start seeing an optometrist when they turn 6 months of age in order to ensure their eyes are developing as they should. If there are no issues, the next appointment should come at 3 years of age, and then every year after that.
Senior Eye Health
At the other end of the scale, seniors should also be sure to get yearly eye exams to ensure that the effects of aging eyes – think glaucoma and cataracts – are detected and treated quickly to minimize their potential impact on quality of life.
Eye Health at All Ages
Of course, the common thread here is that everyone should get annual exams in order to stay on top of potential emerging issues. We do more than check your vision. We employ tools to check the health of your inner eye to make sure everything is working as it should.
It’s never too late to make eye health a top priority. #VisionHealthMonth. Contact us today to book your appointment:
This article from Tmag Optical Trends recommends including some beneficial foods in your daily diet as an easy way to improve your eye health and take care of your sight.
1) Green Vegetables
Cabbage, spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce, broccoli, peas, beans
These cooked vegetables provide your body with lutein (a pigment abundant in the macula of the eye) and zeaxanthin (nutritive pigment that accompanies lutein) as well as vitamin C.
2) Fatty Fish
Wild salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel and tuna
Research has demonstrated their protective effect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and dry eyes. The omega-3 acids these fish contain make them strongly beneficial for your overall health.
3) Orange Vegetables
Sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, pumpkins and carrots
These vegetables contain beta-carotene, an essential antioxidant to protect not only your eyes but also your whole body from diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
2 eggs, twice per week
Eggs contain significant amounts of vitamin E, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids. However, if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes, you should seek advice from your doctor regarding the desired amount of eggs to consume.
5) Lean Meats
Turkey, lean beef, seafood
Turkey and lean beef contain a lot of zinc and vitamin E, which is important for the eyes. Crab, oysters, mussels and scallops also provide a beneficial ratio of minerals and vitamins.
6) Nuts, Whole Grains, Beans and Lentils
Almonds, nuts of all kinds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and all cereals
All these foods are particularly rich in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E and zinc, which are very effective for ocular and general health.
Source: Eye Foods, a Food Plan for Healthy Eyes, Dr Laurie Capogna, O.D. and Dr Barbara Pelletier, O.D. www.eyefoods.com