Do your ever hold your phone or book a bit further away these days and, well, squint a little bit to read it? Be honest! Everyone’s eyeballs start to deteriorate as we get older; it’s only natural – or is it? Could you make better health choices to help protect your eyesight and lessen age-related damage? It would seem so, as per the details below on aging eyes.
The importance of a healthy diet for aging eyes
More and more research points to the effect of diet on eye health, and the benefits you can gain from eating well.
Why is that?
Many vitamins and minerals seem to have properties which help protect our eyes from unnecessary damage. And a balanced diet can reduce our risk of developing conditions like diabetes, which affect our sight.
1. So, what should you be eating?
The dietary guidelines developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services recommend focusing on:
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
And that our diets ought to be: Low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating 7 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Examples of one serving include:
- 125 ml (½ cup) fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit
- 125 ml of 100% fruit juice or low sodium vegetable juice
- 250 ml (1 cup) leafy green vegetables such as kale or spinach. This is about the size of your fist
- 1 piece of fruit or vegetable such as an apple, guava, nectarine, orange, peach, pear, large carrot or celery stalk
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) of dried fruit such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots or dried prunes
However, with such busy lives, many folks still aren’t getting enough of those nutrient-rich foods.
So what else can you do?
2. Aging eyes, vitamins, and minerals
Taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is one way to help complete any nutritional gaps.
The following vitamins and nutrients play a key role in the reduction of problems with aging eyes:
Vitamin A and beta-carotene
Vitamin A is essential for night vision, injury healing, and proper functioning of the immune system. Natural sources include leafy greens, apricots and fish.
Vitamin B complex
It has been suggested that these vitamins help reduce chronic inflammation and avoid elevated homocysteine levels in the blood. This has been related to vascular problems impacting the retina.
B vitamins may also contribute to a reduced risk of macular degeneration and in the treatment of uveitis, a typical cause of blindness. A supplement is really helpful, as is eating lots of fish, beans, eggs and dairy products.
Studies have found that antioxidant vitamin C is connected with reduced risk of cataracts in aging eyes. Vitamin C is found naturally in:
- Fruits, including oranges and berries
Research also recommends that vitamin D is connected to a lower risk of macular degeneration. Make sure you get enough daylight, include lots of fatty fish in your diet. And take a supplement too, if needed.
Aging eyes and vitamin E
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study has shown that vitamin E is related to decreased risk of cataracts. Soy, vegetables and whole grains are all great sources.
Lutein and zeaxanthin
These carotenoids and macular pigments may reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Plant extracts, such as ginkgo biloba and bilberry, include phytochemicals that seem to offer protection from oxidative stress across the whole body, including the eyes.
Omega-3 necessary fatty acids
These necessary nutrients may reduce the risk of dry eyes and may have other related health benefits too.
Bioflavonoids, which are found in lots of fruits and vegetables, seem to help the body soak up vitamin C for greater antioxidant performance.
Other essential minerals for aging eyes
Zinc and potassium have also been shown to have a key function in supporting eye health. And supplements like sea moss and bladderwrack capsules are rich in these – as well as a whole range of other essential minerals.
3. Give your eyes a rest
Another way to help protect your peepers from degeneration is to rest them. Yes, it’s really that simple.
Therefore, take a break from the screen every 10 minutes when working at a computer, if you can. Try to follow the 10-10-10 rule, which is:
Look at something 10 feet away for 10 seconds for each 10 minutes you work on screen.
And it’s also very important to make sure you get enough sleep. If your eyes are well-rested, they’ll be in a much better condition.
4. Aging eyes? Try exercises
You exercise other parts of our body but neglect your vision – why? Well, many of us aren’t aware of the benefits of doing so. Why not try the following straightforward eye exercises and see if you feel the benefits, after a week?
First, rub your palms together, then put them over your eyes. Hold this for 5 to 10 seconds, and repeat. This is just to help prepare your peepers for the exercises below:
Start by rolling your eyes. Look up as far as you can – then, look down. Repeat this 10 times, but stop whenever it hurts.
Do the same from side to side, repeating 10 times, then move your eyes diagonally. Finally, roll them around ten times in a clockwise, followed by counter clockwise direction. Easy.
Then, grab a pen and hold it at arm’s length, ensuring it’s at eye level. Focus on the pen as you move it closer to your eyes.
Stop when you get about six inches away from your face, and concentrate as you move it back to arm’s length. Do this action slowly and repeat 10 times.
Massage your eyes after working out, including the area above your eyebrows and beneath your eyes. Then repeat the exercise of placing your palms over your eyes as a cool down activity. Simple!
Final words on aging eyes
I hope this post has given you a few pointers on how you can help protect your eye health naturally. Changes are bound to happen over time, but hopefully the methods above can at least help support your vision.
Have you every thought of doing vision exercises before? Do you take care of your eyesight?