Looking after our eyesight is something we all need to do. Unless, of course, the idea of gradually degenerating eye health appeals to you? No? Didn’t think so.
What do we need to do in order to help maintain healthy eyes throughout our lives?
What aspects of our lifestyle affect our sight and is there anything we can do to counteract the damage we may be doing?
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the most common lifestyle changes we can make in order to give our eyes the best chance of staying healthy into old age. We’ve seen in previous articles which foods contain micronutrients that help maintain good vision and protect against everyday damage, but it’s not all about cramming your face full of nutraceuticals and hoping for the best! Let’s take a look at a few of the most efficient lifestyle changes we can all make to improve our eye health.
First off, we have our diet. Eating healthily is something we should all be doing more often.
As mentioned, we’ve previously seen some of the best foods to implement into your diet, but overall, a balanced diet that includes foods such as spinach, quinoa, oily fish and citrus fruits can greatly improve your chances of maintaining healthy eyesight throughout your life.
Being overweight, for example, can increase your chances of idiopathic intracranial hypertension, with as many as 10% of people suffering from it losing their sight permanently.
You may also be tempted to take supplements for nutrients like beta-carotene or vitamins C and E, however, this may not be the best way to harness the benefits to your vision that these substances can bring.
Heavy drinking can have adverse effects on your eyesight.
By weakening the muscles in your eye, alcohol can cause permanently blurred or even double vision. By affecting vitamin absorption rates in the liver, drinking can cause deficiencies in certain vitamins and nutrients that lead to poorer eye health.
Limiting the amount of alcohol consumed throughout your week can help reduce your risk of such conditions.
Studies have shown that, for men, 14 alcoholic drinks a week and for women, 7 alcoholic drinks per week is the maximum before your risk of eye damage significantly increases.
It has also been observed by scientists in Canada that alcohol can affect the eye’s ability to detect differences in dark and light conditions by up to 30%.
Next up, we have technology.
As much as technology can make certain things speedier or more interactive, it still has the potential to cause damage to your eyes. Most of us know what it’s like so stare into a computer screen for extended periods of time, and how it can make your eyes feel awful.
Symptoms can include dry eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue or head, neck or back pain. In order to avoid these and other, more serious conditions while working at a computer screen, try sitting far enough away that the screen is four to five inches below your eye level.
You can also adjust the brightness of your screen as well as try to reduce the glare coming off your screen. Also, as silly as this may sound, remember to blink! This can keep your eyes from becoming dry, itchy or sore.
Ah smoking, the habit we wished we’d never started.
Smoking can be incredibly damaging to your eyes and also doubles your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. Smoking is not, and never has been, good for your body and its potential to cause devastating damage to your eyes in later life should serve as yet another reason to kick the habit.
Not only does it increase your risk of age-related macular degeneration, but can also cause or exacerbate conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy as well dry eye syndrome and cataracts.
Quitting smoking is never easy, but it is definitely worth it for the sake of your eyes and the many other health conditions it can cause. When something contains over 4000 chemicals that can damage the human body, it probably isn’t worth the risk.
Lastly, we have exercise.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet, drinking less and giving up smoking are all great ways to reduce the damage that can be caused to your eyes, but exercising regularly can help keep them healthy.
Much like our brain, our eyes need oxygen to maintain an optimal level of performance. Exercising regularly is a great way to keep them sharp.
Regular exercise is proven to increase the oxygen supply to your optic nerve as well as reduce the pressure in the eye. It has also been suggested that aerobic exercise can help to ward off diabetes and glaucoma and this, combined with decreased intra-ocular pressure can prevent conditions such as ocular hypertension.
Exercise isn’t just for increasing your fitness levels or losing weight, your eyes stand to benefit just as much from regular exercise as any of your other muscles.
These are just a few of the various ways people can adjust their lifestyles to take the health of their eyes into account. We can all improve our heath in some way, so why not consider adopting one or two of these suggestions into your life and see how you feel?
Smoking 20 a day? Not exercising regularly enough Why not kick the habit, go outside for a run (or even a walk!) and see the benefits for yourself?
As we get older, it becomes more and more important to take care of the overall condition of our eyes, so why not make it easier on yourself and get an early start? Staying on top of certain aspects of your lifestyle really can make all the difference, and you never know, you may just thank us for it.
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