We rely on our eyes to navigate the world around us. The eyes are a very sophisticated organ. When light first enters your eye, it travels through the dome-shaped layer called the cornea. The dark spot in the middle of the cornea, the pupil, grows or shrinks to control how much light enters.
After passing through the lens, the light is focused on the retina. The rods and cones on the retina convert the light signal into electrical signals that travel to the brain. That’s where interpretation happens, and you can tell what you are looking at.
How Aging Affects the Eyes
With aging, the lens loses its capacity to focus. When you can’t focus on objects close to you, it is known as farsightedness. Aging eyes can also not adjust well to dim light. Old eyes are also prone to degenerative diseases like cloudy eyes or cataracts. Macular degeneration and glaucoma are also issues you might have to deal with as you and your eyes get older. You cannot stop aging.
But you can take steps to keep your eye healthy. One of the first things you can do is get yourself some sunglasses to block out the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. If you already have glasses, you can get polarized prescription sunglasses to reduce the strain and damage caused by the sun. It is one of the best preventive measures to keep your eyes healthy.
Then there are the nutritional and lifestyle factors.
Keep Your Cholesterol Low
High levels of cholesterol and saturated fat aren’t just bad for your heart but for your eyes too. Having elevated levels of cholesterol and saturated fat increases the chances of macular degeneration. It has also been seen that high cholesterol contributes to diabetes and high blood pressure. Both of which lead to retinal diseases. Diabetic retinopathy and hypertensive retinopathy are a few examples. Plaques developed from cholesterol clog up the arteries. These clogs can travel up to the eye and cause a stroke in the eye itself.
Processed meat, fast food, and high-fat dairy products are food groups that you should be cautious about. In small quantities, they are harmless, but the intake needs to be monitored by you. One of the ways to offset high cholesterol and fat accumulation is to engage in physical activity. Regular exercise is good for your eyes as well.
Keep the Omega 3s High
Oily fish like salmon are one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Some vegetarian sources like nuts and seeds are also good sources. For example, algae-based omega-3 supplements are alternatives to fish oil capsules. There are a lot of studies that show how omega-3 fatty acids can help with heart health and joint health. There is also evidence to show that it can help with neurological health.
The most promising evidence is that omega 3 fatty acids can help with dry eye syndrome and prevent a host of dry eye diseases. A recent study even found that people with diabetes responded better to treatment with omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.
Raise Antioxidant Levels
Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of antioxidants, such as Lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc, vitamin e, and vitamin C. These nutrients help with the processes that occur inside the eye. The retina needs to constantly regenerate after processing light, and these nutrients all help do just that.
Free oxygen radicals result from high amounts of regeneration and metabolism, which antioxidants then negate. During the treatment of macular degeneration, it is common to prescribe eye vitamins.
One of the most harmful things you can do to your eyes is smoke. Smoking and tobacco use, in general, lead to a host of eye diseases. Apart from macular degeneration and uveitis, you are also at risk of developing thyroid eye disease. If there is a history of thyroid disease in your family or yourself, smoking exaggerates this risk to a very high degree.
The fact that smoking is harmful has been known for a long time. Yet, one of the hardest things to do is quit smoking. Reach out to doctors so that they can give you the medication and counseling necessary to quit smoking quickly.
The eyes were one of the last organs to evolve and are one of the most precious ones. Taking care of them should come naturally to you. Now, these tips can help you achieve that goal.