There are so many things we can do for eyes today that it’s almost mind-boggling! From Lasik and contact lenses to cataract surgery and other treatments, there are also things that modern medicine can’t do and if your vision fails, it may be for good. Happily, there are so many ways you can improve your vision naturally that the control rests largely in your hands. There are plenty of eye-friendly foods, supplements and even exercises that can keep your eyes healthy long-term to avoid surgery, time, money… and vision!
The best things for your eyes come from colorful fruits and veggies. Of course they please the eyes to look at, but also the nutrients within these foods contribute greatly to pleasing eye health. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids found in orange and red veggies like carrots, cantaloupe, watermelon, squash and pumpkin help preserve night vision and act as antioxidants for the eye. Lutein, a natural pigment that helps prevent macular degeneration can be found in spinach, corn, egg yolks, romaine lettuce, zucchini, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas and kiwi. Zeaxanthin, another power-packed pigment can be found in corn, orange bell peppers, oranges, mango, kale and spinach. Eating a rainbow of fresh vegetables helps your eyes maintain good circulation, prevents against macular degeneration, retains night and day vision and keeps the eyes properly hydrated. Also avoiding sugary and starchy foods will help you to beat one of the leading causes of blindness in adults: diabetes.
Supplements to Protect Vulnerable Eyes
If you know your eyes are a little bit vulnerable, there is eye disease in your family, or you already have eye troubles then it’s a good idea to change your diet and add some supplements to boost eye health more quickly.
Lutein is related to beta-carotene and vitamin A and is another pigmented molecule. Your body stores high concentrations within the macula and the retina of the eye. It is thought to function as a type of filter to help protect your eye from excessive sunlight or ultraviolet light. Lutein can help to protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and retinitis pigmentosa. The American Optometric Association recommends taking 10mg per day.
Zeaxanthin is another pigment that functions very similarly to lutein in the eye and can be found in many of the same fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in these antioxidants from spinach, kale and broccoli has been shown to decrease your risk of cataracts by 50%. The American Optometric Association suggests taking 2 mg per day.
Vitamin A helps to protect the surface of the eye called the cornea. It helps to maintain proper lubrication of the eye, reduces inflammation and protects peripheral vision. 15,000 IU daily has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Vitamin A can be found in beef and chicken liver, organic whole milk and cheese.
This group of flavenoid pigments are powerful antioxidants that help boost eye health, circulatory integrity and protect the tiny capillary beds that feed and nourish the eyes. These compounds are found in bilberries, blueberries, açai berries, cranberries, grape skins and plums. These compounds help protect against inflammatory eye disease and even diabetic retinopathy.
Your eyes use muscles to focus, adapt to changing light conditions and change their shape to refract light better. These muscles can become stiff, rigid or shortened if your eyes are only focusing on one particular distance for long periods of time (like, say, your computer screen.) Over time this can weaken and even distort the shape of those muscles which prevents proper focus or light accommodation from happening. Like any other muscle group, eyes can be exercised to prevent this from happening. Meir Schneider is on of the global experts on natural vision improvement and his Natural Vision Improvement Kit comes with tools and exercises that can improve your vision in just 15 minutes per day. Just remember that like any other exercise, it will take more than one day to work.
Eye health reflects whole body health so anything you do to keep yourself healthy will also reflect in your eyes. When your eyes need a little bit of extra support you can look to the above tips for profound changes in your eye health. Speak to a Wellness Specialist about these options and more!
by Amy Neuzil, ND*. Amy is available for consultation at Peoples Wellness Center North.
*Naturopathic doctors are not currently licensed in the state of Texas.