Modern lifestyles revolve around prolonged staring at small type and images on computer screens, televisions, and cell phones which have a detrimental effect on eye health and an increase in age-related eye problems. There are, however, certain corrective measures individuals can take to stop further deterioration of vision and, in some cases, actually improve it. They include changes in diet, eye exercises, and getting enough rest.
If we start with diet first, there are certain nutrients that help the eyes to function optimally. Vitamins A, C, and E, and minerals like copper and zinc are beneficial for good eyesight. Antioxidants needed by the eyes include beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. They protect the macula against damage. They can be found naturally in certain foodstuffs including dark leafy greens, egg yolks, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and yellow peppers. Other foodstuffs have different benefits for the eyes. Garlic, shallots, capers and onions are rich in sulfur, cysteine, and lecithin and help to inhibit cataract growth. Grapes, goji berries, and blueberries also possess antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties that help improve vision. Fish (wild salmon, cod, sardines, and mackerel) provide structural support to cell membranes.
With regard to exercise, there are several well-known techniques designed to strengthen the eye muscles, help with vision, and mitigate the effects of eye floaters. They include placing your palms over your eyes (known as palming), focussing exercises, and massaging the temples to improve blood circulation around the eyes and face. Palming reduces visual stimuli to the eyes and brain and spreads the tear film in the eyes evenly. The heat and light pressure of the palms over the eyes also relaxes them. Palming should be done for 3 minutes or more. Another good exercise is rolling your eyes clockwise in a complete circle and then counter-clockwise in the other direction, repeating the circular movements about 10 times in all.
One focussing exercise involves holding a pen at arm’s length, moving the pen slowly to within six inches of your nose, and then moving the pen back slowly to arm’s length, all the while focussing on the pen through the movements which should be repeated about 10 times. Another extension of the same exercise is placing your thumb about 10 inches from your face, focusing on it for 10-15 seconds, then focus on an object 5-10 feet away for 10-15 seconds, followed by shifting the focus further to an object 10-20 feet away for 10-15 seconds, and then finally refocusing on your thumb for 10-15 seconds. So the eyes have to accommodate three focal lengths in total. Repeat the exercise 5 times.
Getting enough eye rest is also vital for eye health. It is important to get as close to 8 hours of sleep as possible, enabling the eyes to fully rest, repair themselves, and recover. During the course of the day, breaks from the computer are essential. Looking into the distance on a regular basis helps to reduce the stain the eyes suffer staring at a close range computer for long periods of time.
Looking after eyesight involves the same kind of common sense principles involved in looking after any other part of the body i.e. exercise, diet, and enough rest. While there are no guarantees that the above will necessarily make a difference in vision improvement, they certainly will not make it worse except possibly in certain eye conditions. Examples include cataracts, blindness in one or both eyes, or a recovering cornea injury. But assuming that an individual’s eyes are otherwise healthy, there are many examples of people who have put the above into practice and seen significant improvement. So the conclusion is to keep an open mind and try the above regimen as you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.