Lifestyle and Diet Tips for Your Eye Health

Written by on January 16, 2013 in Health - No comments | Print this page

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male-eyeYour eyes, like the rest of your body, benefit from the way you treat them.  Do you shield them from the elements or do you leave them exposed and vulnerable?

Do you provide them with nutrients or do you poison them with fried foods?

A part of your body like any other, your eyes need proper diet and protection during your daily life if you want them to remain strong into your later years.  Here is some great lifestyle and diet tips you can use to make sure your eyes are healthy.

Just as you wouldn’t go out into the cold without a jacket, you shouldn’t go into the bright sun without sunglasses.  This is the first and arguably the easiest way to protect your eyes.

The harsh UV rays from the sun can result in macular degeneration, cataracts, corneal sunburns (called photokeratitis), skin cancer in the eyelids, pterygia, pinguecula and less severe symptoms such as dryness and irritation.  Pterygia—commonly called “surfer’s eye”—is a triangular growth that begins on the white part of the eyeball (at this point called pinguecula) and can extend into the cornea; sometimes the condition can be cured with simple drops or else surgery is required.

While surfer’s eye can certainly be painful, the condition is nothing compared to the possibility of contracting ocular melanoma: skin cancer that begins in the eye and can spread to other parts of your body.

Your skin has sunscreen for protection, but your eyes need some as well.  Sunglasses with 100% UV blockage are recommended for anyone who spends time outdoors, whether on the beach, on a boat or driving a car.

Sunglasses, especially ones with polarizing lenses, can also cut down on glare, which can be painful and irritating and can lead to eye strain and temporary blindness.  Make sure you keep your eyes protected.

Having a good diet is also crucial in protecting your eyes.  Beta carotene, a provitamin found in many foods, is the go-to nutrient for your eyes, providing your eyes the tools they need to prevent against macular degeneration and cataracts as well as repairing any damage to the lens.

You can usually identify foods with beta carotene by the orangish color they have—papaya, guava, carrots, apricots, sweet potatoes, squashes—but it is also found in many greens such as kale, spinach and collards.  Vitamin A and C are also great for your eyes as they, again add extra support against macular degeneration, but also increase blood flow to your eyes and help fight against free radicals that build up and cause damage.

Zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, found in a lot of protein like meat and eggs are also part of a good diet for your eyes.  Of course, there are also plenty of things you shouldn’t eat for the sake of your eyes.

Fried foods, unsaturated fats, trans fats, and high levels of sugars should all be avoided or consumed in moderation.  The deleterious effects on the rest of your body those foods produce—hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke—all take their tolls on the eyes as well, causing oxygen deficiencies, susceptibility to disease and potentially ulcers.

In order to take care of your eyes, you don’t have to memorize and initiate a whole new lifestyle: you’ve simply got to remember to treat your eyes like you treat the rest of your body.  That means using proper protection from the elements and eating a proper diet.

This is a guest post.  Emily Joseph is a writer for QualSight Lasik.  When Emily is not writing or reviewing LASIK doctors, she spends her free time learning about health related topics both online and from medical journals.

Image courtesy of graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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