It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. The origin of that saying remains under debate, however, with contenders running the gamut from Leonardo DaVinci to William Shakespeare and Cicero.
But what isn’t debatable is the fact that the eyes may be the key to discerning an individual’s health and emotional state. According to Psychology Today, visual sensitivity and visual acuity (the ability to see detail) directly correlate to not only the levels of ambient light in our daily environment, but our overall health.
The Connection Between Eye Health & Age
Age can also have a significant impact on eye health. As we age, our eyesight can deteriorate considerably, leading to a variety of vision impairments including glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), in fact, is the No. 1 cause of vision loss among Americans. For that reason, eye professionals recommend annual vision test for people over the age of 45.
Those with a family history of poor eyesight or eye disorders should also undergo an annual exam, regardless of age. And once you reach 60, your yearly checkup should include a comprehensive dilated eye exam, which is the best choice for identifying the signs of glaucoma, such as changes in optic nerve fibers.
Healthy Eye Maintenance Tips
Along with regular eye exams, you have plenty of options for maintaining healthy eyes throughout your lifetime, including proper nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle choices that all play a role in eye health maintenance. Here’s some best practices for improved eye health.
Consume Plenty of Antioxidants
Nutrition and health are intrinsically connected. Research shows that consuming a balanced diet loaded with antioxidants can help keep your eyes happy and healthy longer.
Certain nutrients and vitamins, such as zinc and Vitamin E, have been linked to improved eye health and vision. If you aren’t getting enough of these essential nutrients via your diet, then consider taking supplements to fill in the gaps.
Antioxidant-rich foods include salmon and other seafood full of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as leafy green vegetables, carrots, and citrus fruits. In other words, if you primarily consume a plant-based diet, you’re well on your way to optimal eye health.
Cut Down on Screen Time
Today’s workforce is increasingly tech-savvy, and using computers is an essential component of a myriad of jobs. Unfortunately, staring at screens for prolonged periods can lead to significant eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, and even more serious ocular conditions, such as presbyopia.
A whopping 70 percent of Americans suffer from digital eye strain, but the good news is that no matter your work environment, you can maintain optimal eye health simply by reducing screen time.
Take frequent breaks from staring at your computer, even for just a few minutes every hour. The general consensus is that for every 20 minutes you stare at a screen, you should spend 20 seconds looking away.
Keep Your Eye-Wear Well-Maintained
Unless you permanently fixed your vision impairment with help from LASIK surgery, which is considered an affordable option with a negligible 6-week recovery time, the maintenance of your glasses or contact lenses is part of your daily routine. And keeping your eyewear in good condition can further safeguard your vision.
If you wear glasses or prescription sunglasses, make sure to carry a microfiber wipe with you at all times. Microfiber cloth is made from a material specially formulated to remove dust and random particles from your glasses without scratching the lenses.
Avoid UV Light Exposure
Ultraviolet light is somewhat of a misnomer — rather than light, UV is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Excessive exposure can lead to tissue damage, such as sunburns, and it can also harm your eyes. Protect your eyes with sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors for more than a few minutes, and avoid looking directly at bright light or the reflected light of the sun.
A Comprehensive Approach to Optic Health
Even if you feel that referring to eyes as the “windows to the soul” is akin to poetic nonsense, you can’t deny that maintaining eye health is imperative to your overall wellbeing. By taking a holistic approach to ocular maintenance, eating healthful foods, and reducing computer-related eye strain, you can keep your vision strong no matter your occupation or age.