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I am starting this article on the 14th of October 2021, which is the day the World Health Organization WHO has appointed to be the World Sight Day, with the slogan “love your eyes”.
The World Sight Day takes place every other year, the second Thursday in October. This year is the fourth time it takes place, which is why I have chosen that it will be the basis for my article.
Even though the eyes are our windows to the outside world, are most of us rarely giving any thought to our sight in our everyday life. We take it as a given that we can see our surrounds, see the food we eat, nature, people, animals, cars, etc.Take care of your eyesight
Take care of your eyesight
It is incredibly important that you take care of your eyesight, as experts say that quality of life reduces dramatically when we get older if we cannot see.
Check your vision regularly. Most of us first start to think about our eyesight and what we can do to maintain and nurture it as best as possible, when our arms have become too short to read the newspaper and we do not feel that things are as sharp as they used to be and driving a car seems to have become a challenge.
Then it is about time to visit a skilled optician or ophthalmologist or perhaps both. However, before it gets that far, are there still plenty of things you can do for yourself to keep your eyes healthy.
One of the most common afflictions that come with age, is cataracts. In the beginning it develops very slowly, often after you have turned 65 and starts with a blurry vision, which slowly worsens. It is so common, that it is estimated that 40.000 Danish citizens are operated for the disease every year.
Glaucoma is an eye condition, which is also age related. There are many different kinds of glaucoma, which can appear at all ages. However, the age related one is the most common. It is estimated the 1% of all Danes over the age of 40 have the affliction, which is often without symptoms for many years. It is sometimes seen that glaucoma runs in the family.
Macular degeneration also known as AMD is also age related, but a large body of research suggests that it can be prevented or slowed down with the right diet and supplements.
One of the most common eye afflictions are dry eyes. It is a feeling that the eyes are tired and often feels dry and irritated. With some people the condition feels like a burning or stinging. Unfortunately, it becomes more and more common the older we get. The condition can also be caused by allergies. An especially exposed group are the people that work most of the day in front of a computer.
Other eye afflictions
Another discomfort, which is often seen with the elderly, are the eyes becoming watery.
Other common problems with the eyes can for instance be farsightedness, shortsightedness, or presbyopia, which should be checked regularly.
Healthy diet for your eyes
It is a cliché we all know, that “carrots are good for the eyes.” It is correct that carrots contain many A-vitamins, which are great for the eyes, vitamin-A can also help with night blindness, but there are many other foods that can help with eye health. We have to pay special attention to foods, that are rich in C-vitamins, E-vitamins, zinc, and cobber.
Besides carrots, it is also a good idea to include plenty of eggs, which is stuffed with proteins, carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, which are good antioxidants for the eyes.
Orange colored fruits, such as apricots, preferably dried, bananas, mango, melon, and apples are also great for the vision due to their contents of zeaxanthin and lutein.
Hazelnuts, almonds, and cod liver oil are rich in vitamin-E, which is good for your eyes.
Choose meats of high quality, preferably ecological, such as chicken, turkey, beef, and lamb that contains a lot of good minerals and for instance the amino acid Taurine that can help prevent or postpone glaucoma.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, and sardines are good for your eyes. Shellfish contains a lot of selenium. They all contribute to the strengthening of the retinas and the cell membranes and reduce inflammation in the eyes.
Remember the healthy dietary fibers, such as chia seeds, which has an incredibly high content of fibers next to omega 3 fatty acids and proteins.
Reduce your consumption of
Do not use too much salt and carefully select your salt, such as Himalayan salt.
Avoid fast food and overcooked foods.
It is likewise important to avoid foods that contain glutamate (E 621), which is often used as a taste enhancer. It is suspected that it can cause damage to the retina.
Avoid too much alcohol. Too much alcohol can strain the liver and in the world that I am educated in, does the liver and the eyes have a strong connection. Furthermore, it can reduce the protective levels of glutathione in your eyes. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent glaucoma.
Avoid all artificial sweeteners, especially aspartame. If you need a little bit of sweetener then use coconut sugar, which tastes wonderful and contains a lot of minerals. You can also sweeten with a little bit of apple juice or mashed banana. Should you need some sweets in the afternoon, then chose a piece of dark chocolate.
Healthy eyes requires a lot of nutrients filled with antioxidants.
- As always, it is good to use a multivitamin/mineral product of a high quality as a base.
- A good omega 3 product, perhaps in combination with omega 6 and 7, preferably 2g daily. This combination often helps if you are suffering from dry eyes and it reduces the risk of contracting other eye afflictions, for instance in connection with the retina.
- It is also a good idea to supplement with a complex of all the amino acids. Previously the best combinations were in powder form, which had a bit of a special flavor, but now the entire spectrum is also available in capsule form.
- The amino acid Taurine is found in high amounts in the eye. If you are lacking Taurine, then the function of the retina can be reduced. The daily dosage should be 500mg.
- Cysteine in NAC form is also important for the retina.
- A-vitamins are great to supplement with (if you are pregnant, then you should consult with your doctor before taking the supplement). A deficiency in A-vitamin can lead to night blindness and dry eyes. You can also take different carotenoids that are converted to vitamin-A.
- Lutein and zeaxanthin accompany each other in different dietary supplements. The consumption of these is assumed to reduce many different eye afflictions, such as problems with the retina, glaucoma, and cataracts.
- Vitamin-C is considered to be an especially important antioxidant, as concentration of C-vitamins is very high in the eye, so an extra supplement of 1 gram can be beneficial.Remember, if you are a smoker, then you use 25mg vitamin-C per cigarette. Vitamin-C is vital in the formation of collagen, which strengthens the capillaries around the retina and is thought to help with cataracts.
- Zinc contributes to a reduced risk of night blindness, so you may want to take an extra supplement with it.
- Vitamin-E works in synergy with vitamin-C and is thought to contribute to the prevention of different eye afflictions.
- Selenium works especially well with vitamin-C and E.
- Coliter is the name of some eye drops, which I personally find very helpful when my eyes are dry or irritated, or if I have been to the ocean, where the combination of white sand and sunlight has been too strong for my eyes. The drops help instantaneously. They contain water from chamomile, hamamelis, and eyebright.
Just as it is good to keep our bodies in shape, is it also important to keep our eyes in shape. It can be done with a few simple exercises, which preferably should be done as a fixed morning ritual and in the evening as the last thing you do before you go to bed.
Warm your eye by holding your palms against them. Do it a couple of times and then roll your eyes around roughly 10 times. Start by looking up and then roll them all the way around. When you have done it 10 times, the roll the other way.
Write down the start day in your calendar and see the difference it makes in a month.
If you are sitting multiple hours in front of the computer on a daily basis, then take small breaks. This provides your eyes with the opportunity to get some rest. Sufficient night sleep is important for the entire body, also the eyes.
If you often swim in a pool with chlorine, then make sure that you use close-fitting swimming goggles.
Make sure that you have proper lighting when you are working and reading. Avoid staying too long in rooms with fluorescent light.
If you are a smoker, then stop – if for no other reason, then at least do it for your eyes. Smokers have a higher risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.