The eyes have it
It’s about exercise and nutrition, you see.
Eyes are a big part of wellbeing. Lifelong good eyesight is a key contributor to enjoyment and quality of life. As with most of our body, eyes benefit from nutrition and exercise so let’s look first at foods. Naturopaths like myself have long prescribed food and eye exercises for recovery and prevention. In more recent times we have been joined in this by allopathic clinical practice.
A good example is leading American professor of optometry Leo Semes, who wrote “You are what you eat; it’s trite but it’s true. It has been shown that certain habits like eating a high-fat diet are associated with, but not causative, in AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration).”
And his top recommendation? Carrots. Yes, your nan was right after all! Professor Semes explains their value, saying: “Carrots are high in beta-carotene. Lack of vitamin-A, a cousin of beta-carotene, is implicated in poor darkness adaptation.”
I’ve compiled a list of specific nutrients beneficial to eyehealth (see sidebar), and the foods to add into your long-term eating plan. If you are at a time of high stress, illness (or for women in pregnancy and breast-feeding) these are foods to double up on as your nutritional needs will be increased.
Most eye-problems are degenerative and only come on with age. But they are not inevitable and prevention is the best treatment and therapy we have. In fact, for the most common condition, AMD, prevention is the only therapy. So get started today and see your way to a healthier future.
Easy on the eye
Eating your way to health is about as easy as wellbeing gets and exercising your eyes is even easier.
So much of our time is spent looking at screens; TVs, computers, mobile phones and e-readers. We need to counter this. Just a couple of simple exercises every day will do. My two favourites are scanning and near-far focus, both of which can be easily done anywhere anytime so make a habit of them.
This relaxes your eyes from the strain of extended short focus. Hold your thumb 15cm from your face at eye level and focus on it. Hold focus for one relaxing breath. Focus on an object about 4-5 metres away. Take another breath while focusing.Repeat 10 to 15 times.
This builds eye flexibility and fluid movement. For two minutes, maintain slow, relaxed breathing, keeping your head still. Scan around the edges of your vision. Identify and rest a moment on objects you see.