If you were asked to list some of your most cherished or valuable possessions, would you include vision? While many would agree that their quality of life would not be the same with a diminished sense of sight, it is nevertheless the case that eye care rarely receives the attention it deserves until it's too late. Our eyes are the second-most complex organ in our bodies after the brain, and with up to 80% of sensory information being derived from our sense of sight, it's remarkable how often we overlook taking care of our visual health.
According to the American Optometric Association, adults begin to notice changes in their vision around age 41. A common example is increased difficulty seeing clearly at close distances, especially when reading or working on the computer. This change in the eye's ability to focus is called presbyopia, and will continue to progress over time. However, taking care of your eyes is not an issue you can afford to put off! The best way to ensure a lifetime of optimal vision is to instill healthy habits from an early age. Hindsight may be 20/20, but it's definitely better to look ahead when it comes to taking care of your eyes.
Lifestyle Habits for Healthy Eyes
Here are some healthy eye care tips, treatments for common eye conditions and natural remedies that will benefit your family's visual health and well-being for years to come.
Here comes the sun
You may see clearly when the rain is gone, but beware of the potentially harmful effects of the sun on your eyes. Protecting your eyes from sunlight is just as important as putting sunscreen on your skin. Exposure to UV (ultraviolet radiation) year-round can cause serious eye damage. Children are at particular risk because they spend more time outdoors than the average adult, and their eyes have less capability to filter UV.
To protect children from years of potential eye damage from UV exposure, it’s crucial to begin wearing proper eye protection at an early age. When selecting protective sunglasses, be sure to choose 100% UVA/UVB protection sunglasses. Add in a wide-brimmed hat for good measure, and you and yours will be set to enjoy the outdoors while caring for your eyes.
Warning: may cause blindness
It goes without saying that smoking has many detrimental effects on one’s health. Apart from the well-documented risks of heart disease and lung cancer, smoking is also a preventable cause of blindness. The chemicals in cigarettes have been found to cause cellular damage, increased risk of dry eye and corneal infections, in addition to being a major risk factor in a host of other degenerative eye conditions and diseases. The takeaway? Avoid smoking.
The importance of stress management
How can you tell a real smile from a fake one? It’s all in the eyes! While your eyes may be key to conveying genuine happiness, they can also be affected by feelings of stress and anxiety. When the body is stressed, your pupils dilate to allow more light to enter, so you can see potential threats more clearly. However, high adrenaline levels can cause pressure on the eyes, resulting in blurry vision or eye twitching. Some studies even suggest that prolonged exposure to stress can cause vision to deteriorate entirely. These are only a few reasons why maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle is crucial to ensuring eye health in the long run!
Tip: Feeling overwhelmed by stress? Deep breathing, mindfulness techniques and yoga practices are only a few ways of implementing healthy coping strategies for stress and anxiety in your daily routine.
How to Prevent Eye Strain
Have you ever experienced tired, blurry eyes or a headache after a long workday? If you spend the majority of your work time in front of a computer, you may be suffering from eye strain. Here are some simple self-care tips to take the stress off your eyes:
Limit screen time
As the pandemic has changed our working and learning habits, many families find themselves increasingly having screens in front of us every day. While limiting screen time is easier said than done, it's important to ensure that your children rest their eyes between extended viewing. For parents who work on the computer all day, increasing the size of screen text, adjusting lighting, and taking regular breaks will all help to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS).
The 20-20-20 rule
The Canadian Association of Optometrists recommends the 20-20-20 Rule to help prevent eye strain. It’s simple: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus your eyes on something at least 20 feet away.
Lighting tips to reduce eye strain
Pay special attention to the lighting in your workspace - your sore eyes will thank you! Adjust- ing the lighting of your computer and other devices will make a big difference. Warm, natural light is best for the eyes, while blue light travels deep into the retina, contributing to eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches. Adjust your screen display settings to the warmer end of the spectrum and eliminate excessive bright light from outdoors with window coverings.
Vitamins and Nutrients for Healthy Eyes
Eye health goes hand-in-hand with overall health, and eating a wholesome and healthy diet with ample vitamins and nutrients is essential to maintaining healthy vision naturally. Here are a few nutrients which are particularly important in maintaining eye function and reducing the risk of degenerative eye diseases.
Get plenty of vitamin A
You've probably heard that eating carrots is good for eyesight - and there actually is some scientific evidence behind that claim. Getting enough vitamin A in your diet will ensure you are at a much lower risk of blindness throughout your lifetime.
Vitamin A can typically only be found in animal sources, like eggs, dairy, and liver. However, the human body can also convert dietary provitamin A carotenoids from plant sources into vitamin A. The most efficient provitamin A carotenoid is beta-carotene, which is plentiful in kale, spinach, and carrots – it turns out that old folk tale was right after all!
Consume enough omega-3 fatty acids
The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are vital for maintaining healthy eye functioning, from infancy to middle-age and beyond. Studies have shown that taking omega-3 supplements can significantly reduce dry eye symptoms and prevent eye diseases.
In addition to supplements, you can derive omega-3 fatty acids from adding micro-algae or oily fish (such as salmon or tuna) to your family’s diet.
Causes and Symptoms of Eye Problems
Even with proper care of your eyes, you or your children are likely to need a visit to an eye doctor eventually. But don't panic! Most common eye conditions can be treated naturally and effectively with the right knowledge and a few simple treatments.
Commonly referred to as “bloodshot eyes,” red eye occurs when the white of the eye becomes red or inflamed. Symptoms of red eye, such as dryness, burning, stinging and/or irritation are caused by the dilation of tiny blood vessels in your eye becoming swollen due to environmental factors, medical conditions, allergens or sleep deprivation. Red eye can appear as small, red, squiggly lines in the white of the eye, and at times the entire white of the eye seems pink or red in color.
Dry eye occurs due to lack of adequate tear production, leading to discomfort and potential vision problems. Dry eyes can be caused both by a lack of sufficient tear production as well as by the production of low-quality tears that do not effectively lubricate the eye. As we age, the risk of experiencing this condition increases. Dry eye symptoms include discomfort, stinging, burning, scratching, redness, increased sensitivity, and eye fatigue.
We’ve all been there — you or your little one wakes up in the morning with uncomfortable, gritty, and crusting eyelids. Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is particularly common in kindergarten-aged children who are frequently touching their eyes.
An eye allergy can be triggered during seasonal allergy outbreaks (also known as seasonal allergic conjunctivitis). There can be indoor triggers, such as dust and pet dander, and outdoor triggers, such as pollen. When your eyes are exposed to allergens, the mast cells in the eyes release histamine and other chemicals that can cause inflammation and other symptoms, including itchiness, swelling, burning, excessive watering, and red eyes.
When problems arise, we tend to respond with less than ideal solutions such as OTC or prescription medications containing icky synthetic chemicals. If you are looking for a safe and gentle alternative - we have just the recommendation for you!
TRP: Natural Remedies for Common Eye Conditions
There are many benefits to using 100% natural remedies for your eyes. Most common eye conditions, such as those listed above, can be safely and gently treated with trusted natural products from The Relief Products (TRP). TRP is a homeopathic company based on the philosophy that medicine works in conjunction with the body's own healing ability. TRP products are not a replacement for prescription meds, but are gentle, effective and non-addictive natural remedies without any of the side effects of more conventional treatments. We hope you keep these eye care tips in mind, and these products handy, as part of your eye care regimen to Stay Healthy, Naturally.
We believe in living life to the fullest and healthiest. That’s why we created The Relief Products, a homeopathic medicine company dedicated to a singular mission of helping as many people as possible stay healthy, naturally. As a family operated business, The Relief Products prides itself on providing affordable products made with 100% natural active ingredients that are safe & effective for the whole family.