The human body is a magnificent machine. Furnish it with the right tools to do the job and it can repair itself in miraculous ways.
Eyesight is a perfect example of this. There are a number of individuals who make it through to old age without suffering the effects of diminishing vision – unlike the rest of us. Can this be put down to mere genetic luck? Whilst genes may play a role, our lifestyle and more specifically our diet can make a huge impact not only on our vision but protecting our eyes from outside influences, beyond our control.
Chances are we will all end up needing some vision assistance in our lifetime, if only temporarily. Aids such as cheap contact lenses and glasses can correct deficiencies in eyesight immediately, though guidance is required if you haven’t used vision correction before. Simple lifestyle changes can also be implemented to improve vision in the long term.
Anyone with an interest in holistic medicine understands the synergistic workings of the human body. As with any organs – liver, skin, heart etc. – to optimize the health and therefore effectiveness of our eyes, we must address our overall health.
If you have been experiencing signs of failing vision, it may be time to take a look at your lifestyle. Early signs of vision impairment, may include:
Since an organic approach is best, let us begin with the tools which Mother Nature in her wisdom, has endowed us with to protect and improve our eyesight.
Eating to Enhance Vision
Implementing a ‘clean’ diet can have a dramatic effect on vision. The definition of clean in this instance means unprocessed, unadulterated, free of additives, added sugar and trans fats.
The lasting benefit can be gained by including the following into your diet:
Omega-3 fatty acids
Best sources are flaxseeds, walnuts and oily fish such as salmon
Lutein and zeaxanthin
Excellent sources are green leafy vegetables and yellow carrots
Best sources are orange and green fruits and vegetables such as apricots, cantaloupe, and kale
Best sources are seeds, wheat germ, sweet potato, avocado and almonds
Best sources are berries such as blackcurrants and bilberries. Astaxanthin is an antioxidant which has been found to have protective benefits against macular degeneration and age-related blindness
Traditional Herbal Aids
Tried and tested over thousands of years, herbs have been the traditional medicine for eye health. Having fallen out of favor in recent times, many are now realizing the power of these readily available gifts.
A selection of the most efficacious are:
- Ginkgo – improves blood flow to the retina
- Eyebright – an ancient remedy, whose properties can hasten the recovery from conjunctivitis. Has been shown to lower blood sugar levels
- Coleus – reduces pressure in the eye from fluid
- Cannabis – reduces pressure in the eye in those suffering from glaucoma
- Milk Thistle – supports liver health. Blurred vision and weak eyes can be signs of a sluggish liver
- Bilberry – contains potent antioxidant flavonoids.
Lifestyle Factors Play Their Part
Ancient remedies aside, people even half a century ago could not envisage the digital assault our senses are now undergoing. From computers to iPhones, modern technology is demanding an increasing amount of time – focussing eyes on a small screen.
A disturbing study suggests that Australians are spending eight times as many hours staring at some form of a digital device than they spend with their loved ones.
The ramifications from this are:
- Exposure to Blue light – emitted by digital screens. Blue light has been implicated in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The light passes through the cornea and lens, to the retina and can have a detrimental effect on vision and premature aging of the eyes. Young children are, particularly at risk.
- Computer Vision Syndrome. Signs include:
- Blurred or double vision
- Irritated eyes
- Dry eyes
It may be difficult, especially in a work environment, to limit the use of digital devices, so taking regular breaks, every 20 minutes or so, can give your eyes a rest. Go for a walk outside to exercise your distance vision.
Ensuring you have proper lighting and your computer monitor is set a reasonable distance from your eyes, can also bring relief.
It can be easy to dismiss the benefits of eye exercises. Working at close quarters to screens means that our focus is constantly concentrated on short vision. Eye exercises can bring the muscles back into balance.
If you believe your eyes may be affected by short distance focusing, try the following exercises. Detailed instructions can be found here.
- Outline a sideways figure eight with your eyes
- Alternate between near and far focusing
- Zooming in and out, whilst concentrating your vision on an object
- Blinking – blink every 3 – 4 seconds for 2 minutes
Juice Fasting to Release Toxins
Whilst many people balk at the idea of juice fasting there is an overwhelming body of evidence that it has a beneficial effect on the whole body. Fasting has long been understood to promote longevity and maintain good health.
Whilst technically not a fast if the juice is consumed, a juice fast assists in releasing the toxins and pollutants which clog our cells. During this break from the demands on the digestive system, our bodies have time to repair and heal.
Juice fasting has been touted as having a positive benefit in a myriad of diseases and ailments and many exponents claim their vision has dramatically improved.
Colon Cleansing For Overall Health Benefits
90% of illness begins with an unclean colon. In the same way that a vacuum cleaner becomes less efficient, if debris is left to clogged and obstruct its ability to function, the build-up of toxic waste can dramatically inhibit proper bowel function.
Colonic cleansing may be of benefit if you are experiencing:
- Weak vision
- Constipation, gas or flatulence
- Sallow complexion
- Bad breath
- Foul body odor
Regular Eye Examinations As We Age
As we approach middle age, a number of changes occur in our vision. By our early 40s, we may suddenly notice that reading becomes difficult. By the time we reach our 60s, cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can begin to affect our eyesight.
These are all signs that our body is suffering the effects of age, sun exposure, and diet and lifestyle choices. Implementing the diet recommendations listed above and having regular check-ups with a qualified professional can be of great benefit to those experiencing age-related vision changes.
Protect Eyes from Atmospheric Pollutants
Protecting eyes from the effects of cigarette smoke and other pollutants is often easier said than done. Chronic dry eyes can be the result of atmospheric irritants such as poor air quality and excessive pollution.
Some suggestions to lessen the symptoms are:
- Stay hydrated
- Quit smoking and stay away from cigarette smoke
- Increase humidity – install a humidifier
- Install an air filter
- Wear sunglasses or protective eyewear
If you have come this far, dear reader, you are clearly committed to improving your vision, naturally. It is a wonderful thing to be in control of one’s own well-being and not be at the mercy of the vagaries of aging and ill health.
Take a proactive approach to your eyesight, and enjoy the reward of healthy eyesight now and well into old age!
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