The eyes have it

It’s about ex­er­cise and nu­tri­tion, you see.

Element - - Element Promotion - LANI LOPEZ NU­TRI­TION By Lani Lopez

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.

Vis­i­ble nu­tri­ents

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.

Near-far fo­cus

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.

Scan­ning

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.

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