Are you staring at the computer screen for hours on end? If the eye muscles are focusing on a computer screen for hours, there will be a lack of natural pumping action. Eye strain, along with nutritional deficiencies, can play key roles in our overall eye health.
The tiny muscles of the eye have to get blood and nutrients in, and waste and toxins out. Much of this is done naturally when we move our eyes around. Each time the eye focuses on something, the muscles either contract or relax. Without adequate circulation to the muscles of the eye, the muscles can become congested and unable to relax and contract efficiently.
So which foods and changes to your lifestyle will help those overworked eyes? New studies on the lymphatic system show that antioxidant-rich foods, such as greens and berries, work directly to support healthy lymphatic flow.
Lutein is the most popular eye health nutrient, it helps shield the eye from the harsh light of the sun. Lutein together with zeaxanthin are found in green vegetables, and in the lens and macula of the eye itself. They are powerful antioxidants for the eye.
In one study tracking the eating habits of thousands of men and women, researchers found a significant lower risk of cataracts in those with higher levels of lutein.
Here are some other important eye health tips:
Don’t smoke Smoking increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Lose weight Being overweight increases the risk of eye health concerns.
Move Regular exercise is the best way to improve lymphatic drainage and thus eye health.
Ditch Sugar Keep your blood sugar under control as increases in blood sugar have been linked to eye health issues. High blood sugar can lead to problems like blurry vision, cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy. Diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in adults ages 20 to 74.
Limit screen time It is estimated that 75-90 percent of office workers who use computers regularly, suffer from vision concerns related to their screen time usage. (4) To address these issues, limiting screen time is the best solution, but for those of us without that option, simple changes in computer use routines or environmental factors have been shown to help, including:
- Cutting the glare. When using the computer it’s recommended that lighting should be approximately half of the normal room illumination. Putting a glare filter over the screen monitor will help protect your eyes.
- Rearrange your desk. Researchers have found the optimal position for your computer monitor is to be slightly below eye level, about 2 feet away from the face.
- Give your eyes a break. It is suggested to follow the 20/20/20 rule: After 20 minutes of working on a computer, look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to keep your eye muscles from straining in one position for too long. Blink often to keep the eyes moist.
Sleep Sleep deprivation can lead to vision problems including eye twitching, dryness, itching and—if the deprivation goes on long enough—vision loss caused by a low supply of blood to the optic nerve.
Eat for your eyes Vitamins C and E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, all play a role in eye health. They can help prevent cataracts and may also fight age-related macular degeneration, the most-likely cause of vision loss when you’re older.
Here are some more super foods for healthy eyes:
- Spinach and Kale – Rich in antioxidants that protect against eye damage from sunlight, cigarette smoke, and air pollution. They get into the lens and retina of your eye, and are believed to absorb damaging visible light.
- Grapefruit, Strawberries, and Brussels sprouts – These foods are among the top sources of vitamin C.
- Seeds, Nuts, and Wheat Germ – Vitamins C and E work together to keep healthy tissue strong. Eat a small handful of sunflower seeds, or use a tablespoon of wheat germ oil in your salad dressing for a big boost of Vitamin E.