Five Simple Steps for Healthy Eyes

Janet Ursua, FNP, Cucamonga Valley Medical Group

By Janet Ursua, FNP

Our eyes allow us to see and comprehend the world. Keeping them healthy and bright requires thoughtful consideration to an organ we frequently neglect to care for.

This can lead to problems including eye pain, headaches, dryness, redness, infection and permanent vision loss.

Five easy rules to support our visual health include incorporating:

• Eye healthy foods. Healthy eyes begin with foods rich in Vitamin A, C and E; and nutrients Zinc, Omega 3, gluten and fatty acids. Daily servings of green, leafy vegetables, carrots, apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, nuts, beans, citrus fruits and juices will provide the nutrients necessary to support vision. Drink eight to 10 glasses of water daily for adequate tears and hydration. Control your weight as obesity leads to diabetes, causing glaucoma and retinopathy. Strive to maintain a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet of 2,000 calories daily.

• Less screen time. Blue light emitted from computer screens is especially toxic to our eyes. Follow the 20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes look away from your computer for 20 seconds. Blink your eyes frequently and do not stare endlessly at your phone or laptop. Turn off all electronic devices one hour before bedtime.

• Relaxation. Rest your eyes! Forty percent of our energy is spent using our eyes. Even if we are not looking around, our eyes are wide open. Every hour, close your eyes for one minute and rest your eyes. Consider washing your eyes twice daily using a small cup of water. Warm compresses also assist in relaxing our eyes. As you contemplate your thoughts, consider closing your eyes when you are thinking. Self-awareness of your eye health throughout daily activities will rest your optic nerve. If you smoke, stop. Seek medical attention to assist in your success.

• Eye muscles are weak because we use our neck to turn and not our eye muscles. Roll your eyes clockwise and counter clockwise twice daily, and then lightly close your eyes. Exercise one eye at a time while covering the opposite eye with your cupped hand. Open your eyes widely and then close tightly for a short time twice daily. Sun gazing should be done only at sunrise or sunset. Wear sunglasses to protect against sun damage when outside.

• Expose yourself to nature. This helps to avoid myopia. Throughout the day, seek natural sunlight. Take in the flowers, grass, trees and leaves. Cloud gazing is encouraged and refreshing to our eye health.

When your eyes are healthy and sparkling, you don’t have to say much because they do the talking. Our eyes express emotion and personality. Take care of them and they will uplift your personality and overall well-being.

Follow these five easy steps to protect and maintain this most precious organ — our eyes!