7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Eyes
You think your eye health is something you just have to worry about as you age? Think again. From sun exposure to what we eat, eye damage starts when we’re young, but diet and supplements can keep your eyes healthy.
It’s true that many eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, show up as you get older, but the problems don’t start there. Poor eye health is often the result of long-term neglect of your oculars. But no matter your age, bad habits can accelerate eye degeneration. The good news is that you can prevent it from happening— you just have to make some changes. Below are seven ways you’re ruining your eye health and how you can stop further the damage.
You Don’t Wear Sunglasses
You hear plenty of warnings about applying sunscreen whenever you go outside, and you’ve probably nagged your kids about reapplying it every two hours when they go to the beach. But do you take the same precautions when it comes to your eyes?
Just as sunscreen is vital to protecting your skin from the sun, sunglasses are crucial to guarding your eyes against UV light. Make sure you always have a pair with you, not just for the beach, not just for driving – anytime you’re exposed to the sun. Ultraviolet light is the primary culprit for eye damage, and teenagers are often most susceptible to it because they tend to spend more time in the sun playing sports or sunbathing.
You Don’t Diet and Exercise
What do your diet and exercise have to do with your eyes? Plenty. Many eye problems are caused by long-term chronic inflammation. And chronic inflammation is often the result of a poor diet and the lack of exercise. In fact, chronic inflammation impacts your eyes more than any other part of your body, so if your body isn’t healthy, your eyes won’t be healthy either.
You Don’t Eat Enough Fish and Meat
To reduce inflammation, and, in turn, improve your eye health, you need a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. Some of the best sources of those nutrients are fish and high-quality meat, but you can also get them from plant-based sources such as nuts and seeds.
You’re Not Taking Proper Supplements
If you’re not getting enough Omega-3s from your diet, or if you’re a vegetarian, you need to take a supplement such as perilla oil, chia oil, or EPA DHA phospholipids. These supplements are high in Omega-3s and will help reduce inflammation. They are particularly important if you suffer from dry eye, a condition where your tears aren’t able to provide adequate moisture. Your eye’s mass is 20-40% DHA, and if you’re not supplementing it, it can be depleted.
You’re Not Eating Enough Carotenoids
Carotenoids are plant pigments that are high in antioxidants, which are vital in preventing free radicals from forming. When your eyes are exposed to light, it can cause free-radical damage and ozone free radicals in your eyes.
Carotenoids fight this harmful effect by crossing the blood-eye barrier and going into your macular, which is the back of your eye where light focuses. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin are the most effective carotenoids at preventing free-radical damage. You can get carotenoids by eating a diet high in foods such as lettuce, cabbage, beets, carrots, and corn.
You’re Exposed to Smoke
You already know smoking is devastating to your lungs, heart, and throat, but it can also impact your eye health. Constant exposure to smoke—even second-hand smoke—means it gets in your eyes, which increases your risk of getting macular degeneration.
You Drink Too Much Alcohol
Though drinking alcohol in moderation is actually better for your health than not drinking alcohol at all, heavy drinking is detrimental to your general health. And if it’s detrimental to your general health, it’s detrimental to your eye health. If you drink more than three drinks a day, you’re considered a heavy drinker and you should reduce your consumption.
Your eyes are one of the most important parts of your body. If they are impaired, it can significantly impact your quality of life. Poor eye health isn’t just a symptom of age, it’s something you can avoid early. Make sure you and your family take these necessary steps to protect your sight:
- Wear eye protection whenever you are in the sun.
- Add regular exercise to your routine.
- Add Omega-3 rich foods to your diet.
- Take supplements to fill in the gaps of Omegas.
- Get an adequate intake of carotenoids through diet and supplements.
- Avoid exposure to smoke.
- Drink alcohol moderately.