Enjoy Lifelong Healthy Vision
By Contributing Author, Kate Harveston
I’ll admit it — for too many years, I ignored the health of my eyes. After all, I can see fine with the help of a pair of reading glasses, so I have nothing to worry about, right? Not exactly. Although some people do not have a family history of disorders such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, nobody is immune to developing eye issues.
Fortunately, a host of natural remedies exist to help keep eyesight healthy. Making specific behavioral changes, like giving eyes regular breaks from glaring screens, also helps preserve visual health. Here’s how you can set yourself up to enjoy clearer vision for life.
1. Limit Your Screen Time
Often, people who work on the computer all day leave the office with a headache or find their eyes feel red, dry and sore by the end of the day. That’s because the eyes’ corneas cannot filter out the blue light these screens emit. The result proves akin to staring too long at the sky on a clear day for eight or more hours.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule for improved visual health. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on an object approximately 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This practice gives peepers a break from the unrelenting light.
2. Get Thee to the Optometrist
Wearing the wrong glasses or straining to see without contacts gives people a massive headache. Fortunately, most optometrists agree wearing the wrong prescription corrective lenses alone will not cause permanent eye damage.
My head — and my attitude — improved immensely when I paid a visit to the eye doctor. Some very elaborate and intricate tests need to be done in order to get a true reading — pun intended — on your eyesight. A doctor will measure for specific factors, like the pupillary distance, that will greatly impact how well your prescription works for you. For my most recent exam, my eye doctor spent over an hour getting my prescription just right.
3. Try Some Medicinal Herbals
I’m an herbalist, so I adore using remedies from nature whenever possible. Here are some of my favorite herbs for eye health.
- Fennel: This aromatic herb has enjoyed use as an eyewash among natural practitioners to help reduce sore, red eyes. Fennel prevents cellular death which can lead to eye issues. It adds a slight licorice flavor to dishes and roasts up well as a vegan main dish with olive oil and herbs.
- Goldenseal: Spring allergies leaving eyes red and itchy? Try making a wash from goldenseal. Native Americans long used this herb to relieve itchy, watery eyes.
- Green tea: Are your eyes puffy and swollen? Try drinking more green tea. The tea acts as an anti-inflammatory to clear up puffiness quickly, and folks can place the discarded bags over their eyes to further ease under-eye bags.
- Bilberry: Bilberry can stave off cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Bilberry may improve night vision also, although the scientific evidence remains mixed.
- Saffron: Saffron contains natural carotenoids in which the body breaks down into a usable form of vitamin C. Recent evidence suggests the herb may protect against age-related macular degeneration, so go ahead and get a little mellow yellow.
- Grapeseed: Those with untreated diabetes can harm their eyes. Some evidence suggests grapeseed oil may help reduce the swelling and pain associated with an eye injury or disease.
- Eyebright: The very name of this herb reveals its popular use in folk medicine. This herb has enjoyed long use for reducing swelling and inflammation in the eye. As some inflammation can cause blindness or vision loss, eyebright can help keep those peepers smiling.
- Medical cannabis: Anecdotal evidence supports the efficacy of using medical marijuana for treating glaucoma. Some feel the herb also may help improve eyesight. The active ingredient in cannabis, THC, reduces ocular pressure for three to four hours after use, and as pressure from glaucoma can lead to blindness, adding medical marijuana as a complementary therapy may help those prone to the condition stave off symptoms.
4. Eat a Healthy Diet
The body prefers food over supplements for nutrition, as it can convert substances to usable forms more readily. A diet rich in deep-green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, as well as nuts and seeds, can protect eye health.
Nuts and seeds contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids critical for eye and neural health. Regularly eating these can aid in the retention of visual acuity.
5. Wear Your Sunglasses
Going outside on bright days without sunglasses exposes peepers to high levels of UVA and UVB radiation. While both forms age skin, they can also cause visual changes. One such condition, pterygium, can lead to astigmatism.
Additionally, approximately 20 percent of all cataracts stem from going outdoors without proper eye gear. Those who wear glasses can invest in progressive lenses that darken when they venture into bright areas to protect their vision more effectively.
6. Treat Bags Naturally
Ever wake up with a matching pair of Gucci luggage under your eyes? Me, too. Luckily, reducing eye bags doesn’t need to take long — all it takes is a few minutes and something cold.
Placing a cold compress against the eyes can reduce puffiness, but wrap it in a paper towel or two to keep skin cells from freezing. Alternately, keep a pair of metal spoons in the freezer and press them against the eyes ever so gently. And yes, cool cucumber slices fresh from the fridge also reduce puffiness, so go ahead and give yourself a facial and rest with the slices over your eyes while you do so.
Lifelong Healthy Vision
Many people think it’s inevitable their visual acuity will drop as they age, but it need not do so. You can protect your windows to the world with a few holistic remedies!