5 steps to healthy eyes

  • 2009-12-10
  • By Darja Kuznecova

1.    Eye strain. Any focused work means you don’t blink as frequently. And all the computer work and Internet surfing can take a toll. It’s always good to take a break from activities which involve prolonged staring. And artificial tears can help reduce eye irritation, lubricating the eyes to help you work longer.

2.    Eye lube. As we age, we experience drier eyes. “The biggest reason people have dry eyes is that the tear film doesn’t have the right consistency of water, mucus and oil,” say eye specialists. The oil part of your tears comes from little glands at the margin of your eyelids. As you blink, oil is supposed to coat the eyes. But if this coating is insufficient, the tear film evaporates and eyes feel dry. This triggers reflex tearing, which is why your eyes water when they get dry and irritated. Omega-3 helps with this. Also, heat and air conditioning can cause dry eyes, especially if you sit near a vent or fan unit. Make sure that the vent in your car isn’t blowing toward your face.

3.    Quit smoking. Need another reason to quit smoking? You got it: Smoking increases the risk and accelerates the development of cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage. “Many of us would be more afraid of losing your vision than lung cancer,” analyze eye doctors.

4.    Eye candy. Are carrots really good for your eyes? “Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which the retina needs,” say eye specialists. “But we’re not in danger of having vitamin A deficiencies.” Green leafy veggies like kale, collard and mustard greens, and spinach are good for the eyes because they contain lutein, which studies indicate can reverse symptoms of macular degeneration.  And getting plenty of omega-3 fatty acids from fish and flax can help prevent dry eyes. But avoid omega-6 fatty acids, which is tricky in the American diet. Omega-6s are in vegetable oils. “There are very few processed or packaged foods that don’t have vegetable oils,” notes an eye specialist. “And the omega-6s counteract the good omega-3s.” Another way to help eyes recover from stress is to make an application of tea bags or chamomile tea. Take two round tampons, wet them in cold tea and keep them on closed eyes for 10 minutes. It will help you get rid of the dark circles and stress of eyes.

5.    Stay healthy. We’ve already seen how eating right (veggies over processed foods) helps with eye health. Fitness increases circulation, which can lower pressure within the eyes, which helps with those who have glaucoma. Getting regular overall physicals may lead to early detection of diseases like diabetes or other systemic conditions that can lead to eye problems. And most important, if something bothers you or feels wrong, get it checked out. Eye specialists say “You get your oil checked regularly, so get your eyes checked regularly.”