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How-Tos

Vision of Health: How to Care for your Eyes

September 26, 2015

One of our most relied-on senses is quickly becoming one of our most deteriorating. From eating wholefoods to wearing natural cosmetics, there’s much we can do to protect our eyes and perhaps even reverse the damage.

Long considered windows to the soul, our eyes are one of our most important faculties. Yet, with daily strains of computer work, and as targets for toxic beauty products, they’re also often one of our most neglected.

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According to the Australian Government’s National Health Survey (2004-05), more than 10 million people suffer from a long-term eye problem—that’s approximately half of Australia’s population who seek the help of doctors and specialists for a range of eye disorders, from astigmatism, presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. Women are also significantly more likely to suffer from vision disabilities; a finding reported by The Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES), the first large population-based assessment of visual impairment and common eye diseases.

While the statistics could be considered alarming, there are steps than can be taken to help protect eyes while fostering their good health.

Why Diet Matters

Modern diets of saturated animal fats, processed, packaged foods and takeaways play a responsibility in macular degeneration, say many health researchers, including those at the Harvard School of Public Health, who are educating the global public about the importance of adding good fats into the diet to foster wellbeing—including eye health.

The most common consumers of these foods, people with diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and obesity, are more likely to suffer from retinopathy: persistent or acute damage to the eye retina. According to The Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, 15 percent of those with diabetes experience retinopathy. 

High intakes of plant-based protein, such as quinoa, lentils, tempeh, spirulina, hemp seeds and buckwheat are said to boost eye health significantly, while vitamins A and B1, as well as riboflavin, have also been proven to protect against some forms of cataracts, according to the BMES. Those who consume vitamins C, E, zinc and beta-carotene have also been found to have a 35 percent reduced risk of developing macular degeneration, than those who eat an average diet.

Other foods that have been found to contribute to good eye health include:

Sea vegetables

A natural source of Vitamin A (or beta carotene), Vitamin E, zinc. Sea vegetables are also rich in bioflavonoids, which are said to help sweep away cellular debris that can accumulate in the eyes.

Pink and red grapefruit

Brimming with anti-oxidants, grapefruits are Vitamin C and beta-carotene powerhouses, which directly benefit the eyes.

Kale

Rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to ward against damaging free radicals, kale and other leafy greens help to increase the macula’s pigment density. This may protect against degeneration and protect the retina.

Sunflower Seeds

Vitamins C and E found in sunflower seeds have been found to significantly reduce the risk of developing cataracts.

Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

Boasting loads of beta-carotene, carrots and sweet potatoes are diet staples to help ensure good eye health. It’s little wonder, as the humble carrot, when sliced, also resembles the eye.

Capsicums and Berries

The high amounts of Vitamin C found in these foods have been shown to help reduce the likelihood of getting cataracts.

How to Avoid Eye Strain

Prolonged computer use can do short and long-term damage to the eyes, with health practitioners even giving it a name: Computer Vision Syndrome, the weary, strained sensation that often follows after excessive screen watching—a condition which is said to affect up to 90 percent of office workers.

Yet there are practices you can put in place to minimise strain. These include:

  • Ensure good and adequate lighting;
  • Have your screen set to eye height and positioned directly in front of your face;
  • Reduce screen glare;
  • Blink frequently and look away from the screen regularly;
  • Take screen breaks every 15 minutes.

Natural Relief

Colloidal silver is a natural remedy that can help clear eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, without the need for chemically produced eye drops.

According to Dr Robert O Young, author of The pH Miracle, the natural substance can quickly clear eye (or ear) problems, including cataracts, glaucoma, redness, blurred vision, poor eyesight.

“Use one drop of colloidal silver topically, directly in the eye or ear, three times a day,” he advises.

If you are unsure of the right application for you, please consult a registered holistic practitioner.

Eyes and Beauty

From chemical-laden eye shadows, mascaras, liners and removers, it’s little wonder our eyes begin to show signs of premature ageing.

There’s actually little need for toxic make-up removers when you have natural oils such as cold pressed coconut or organic rose hip oil at hand. These not only sweep away the day’s make-up and environmental grime, they also infuse the delicate eye area with moisture.

When buying cosmetics, be sure to purchase those that contain only natural ingredients, such as Jane Iredale or Australia’s own award-winning, organic certified brand, Inika.