New Delhi: Today, there are very few career options that do not involve using a computer screen or a personal electronic device for long hours.
Add to that, there are so many day-to-day transactions, which we do online using our laptops or mobile devices. And finally, most of us wind up our days with our favorite shows on TV, Netflix or Amazon Prime.
While all of this sounds very convenient and pleasurable, two vital organs of our bodies bear the brunt of our modern, digital lives -- our eyes! However, eye problems don't surface overnight. Our bodies try to warn us of eye troubles every now and then. Headaches, dry eyes or even watery eyes are some signs of an imminent eye problem, but most of us tend to ignore these symptoms.
It's time, however, to realize that eye health should not be neglected. Given the increasing workload of our eyes, it is essential to get timely check-ups for the entire family. This can help avoid serious problems such as presbyopia (difficulty to focus on close-up objects), cataract (clouding of the eye's lens), floaters, flashes and age-related macular degeneration, commonly known as AMD.
Some of these hazards can be eliminated if we regularly invest some time in eye care. Listed below are a few simple things to protect and improve eyesight naturally!
According to Mahesh Jayaraman, co-founder of Sepalika.com, these simple lifestyle changes will improve eye health:
1. Drink plenty of water: According to Dr. Ronald Hoffman, dehydration can hasten the development of cataracts. Drink 6-8 glasses of water every day to keep your eyes moist, healthy and clean.
2. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables: Adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your daily diet will protect the eyes against nutritional deficiencies. Consume foods rich in antioxidants, such as colourful berries, to stop or slow the progression of certain eye diseases.
3. Give your eyes a break from digital screens: Regular use of mobile phones, television, and computers can tire the eyes. Follow the '20-20-20' rule to provide breaks to your eyes. The rule is very simple: Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from your screen for 20 seconds!
4. Quit smoking: Smoking increases the risk of eye diseases, especially cataract. While you should be kicking the butt for your general well-being, better vision is another reason to make a change.
5. Use sunglasses with UV protection: Extended exposure to harsh UV rays of the sun has been linked to eye damage. Common risks include cataracts, macular degeneration, and temporary loss of vision. Wear UV-protected sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays of the sun.
Include vitamins and nutrients in your diet for a healthy eyesight!
Along with lifestyle changes, a healthy diet is equally important for maintaining healthy eyesight.
Mahesh Jayaraman further makes a line-up of nutrients essential for good vision:
1. Beta Carotene and Vitamin A: Vitamin A protects the eyes from damage caused by harmful bacteria and oxidative stress. Sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, fish, liver, and tropical fruits are some good sources of Vitamin A. Beta carotenes (pigments found in yellow, orange and green leafy fruits and vegetables) readily convert into Vitamin A.
2. Zinc: Minerals like zinc can prevent age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Dark chocolate, garlic, chickpeas, sesame seeds are some examples of zinc-rich foods.
3. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which is available abundantly in fruits and vegetables like oranges, tomatoes, red pepper, broccoli, etc. When combined with other antioxidants like vitamin E and zinc, vitamin C can help lower the risk of vision loss and macular degeneration.
4. Omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids prevent eyes from drying up, keep them moist and ensure proper drainage of fluids from them. Flaxseed oil, walnuts and dark green leafy vegetables are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Vitamin E: This antioxidant vitamin can lower the risk of macular degeneration and protect the DNA of all our cells, including those in the eyes. Nuts and seeds are potent sources of vitamin E.
Add Simple Eye Exercises to Your Daily Routine
Have you ever tried eye exercises to relax the muscles located at the back of your eyes? Set aside a few minutes every day for these simple exercises and keep your eye muscles healthy.
1. Palming: Influenced by yoga, palming involves a simple procedure of rubbing the palms against each other and cupping the warm palms on closed eyelids. This exercise soothes eyeballs and releases stress. The idea behind palming is to impart warmth to your eyeballs without putting too much pressure on them. When you start with palming, initially, you may get a vision of colourful bands or grey patches or an illusion of colours. However, the more you get used to this technique, the darker the vision grows, and ultimately it becomes pitch dark when you are fully relaxed.
2. Zooming: Lengthen your arm to a comfortable stretch and keep the thumb in a hitchhiking position. Start focusing on the thumb when your arms are fully stretched. Slowly bring your thumb closer, all the while keeping your focus on the thumb. Stop focusing when your thumb is 3 inches away from your eyes. Repeat this process at least thrice every week.
3. Tracing the figure 'Eight': This exercise helps in improving the flexibility of eye muscles. At a distance of approximately 10 feet, visualize an image of eight on its side (resembling the Infinity symbol). Then slowly trace the figure with your eyes for a few minutes and repeat it at regular intervals.
4. Pendulum exercise: This exercise sharpens the focus of lenses by working on oblique muscles of the eye. You can use either a real pendulum or an imaginary one. The idea is to concentrate on the pendulum and follow its movement by shifting the focus of eyes from side-to-side.