By 2050, the number of people in the United States with vision problems or blindness is expected to reach 8 million, which is more than double what it is right now. It’s important to understand that the human eyes are one of the most vital parts of human body.
It’s essential to protect them from vision impairing ailments such as glaucoma, dry eyes, cataracts, and macular degeneration.
Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Eyes and Good Vision
One of the most effective ways to do this is by making certain your body is getting the necessary intake of minerals, vitamins, and nutrients that are vital to the eyes health.
It’s also important that you visit an eye doctor that provides full vision services at least once a year.
Here are some of the most important vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that play a significant role in maintaining good vision and healthy eyes.
One great way to improve your vision naturally is to eat a diet rich with foods high in antioxidants.
You want foods loaded in lutein and zeaxanthin specifically because they work to protect your retina from macular degeneration which is common during the aging process.
Many studies have shown that zeaxanthin and lutein are very important to the health of the human eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments found in green and leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale.
They are also found in other vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, and green leafy lettuce. These two macular pigments help in preventing age-related macular degeneration.
They do this by protecting the retina against dangerous ultraviolet rays, as well as high energy visible light.
These carotenoid pigments might also help prevent cataracts at a later stage in life.
Such foods include spinach, carrots, green leafy vegetables, corn, and eggs are all great sources of these antioxidants. Cooking these foods in olive oil is even better for you because it increases the absorption rate from your body.
A vegetable chop suey is a delicious way to add a range of vegetables to your meal which are full of antioxidants. Remember to use extra virgin olive oil for more health benefits.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential in protecting human eyes.
The fatty acids are mainly found in fatty fish like sardines, salmon, mackerel, and tuna, and have a variety of health benefits including those for the human eye.
In fact, research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, such as from fish oil supplements, are an excellent source to help protect against dry-eye and macular degeneration.
You should consider adding fish to your meal plan at least twice a week.
Learn More: Chia vs Flax
Wheat germ is an essential antioxidant that acts as a primary source of Vitamin E.
Vitamin E protects your eyes from free radical harm or damage. This means it relieves the retina cells from oxidative stress which leads to eye-related diseases and deterioration.
Studies also show that Vitamin E may assist in maintaining the health of the eyes by lowering the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts ailments.
Vitamin A is another essential nutrient that helps ensure good vision and the health of the human eye. In fact, it is a vital vitamin needed for the production of rhodopsin, necessary for the correct functioning of the retina.
The vitamin also helps in preventing macular degeneration, cataracts, and even dry eyes.
Carrots or beta-carotene are the primary sources of vitamin A. Other sources include milk, eggs, sweet potatoes, liver, and butter.
Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid. It’s an antioxidant found abundantly in green and leafy vegetables and fruits.
The primary sources include oranges, grapes, strawberries, broccoli, kale, green peas, cantaloupe, and red or green sweet peppers among others.
Vitamin C protects and maintains healthy eyes by lowering the progression of macular degeneration and cataracts diseases.
Vitamin B is also very important for maintaining healthy eyes and proper vision.
Particularly, vitamin B-12 which is also called cobalamin. This vitamin is the best for ensuring the proper and accurate functioning of the optic sensory nerves.
Another easy way to improve your eye health is to start taking pantothenic acid.
This is a Vitamin B which helps improve vision clarity as quick as just one day. It is taken under the tongue and 300mg every morning is shown to be the best.
Pantothenic acid works to heighten your alertness so it may affect your sleep patterns if taken too closely to your bedtime.
If your body is deficient in this nutrient, it can lead to a poor or decreased eyesight, and optic neuropathy. In addition to controlling the optic nerves, vitamin B also helps with blood circulation, especially around the eyes.
Taking vitamin B on a daily basis reduces the chance of getting cortical cataracts or glaucoma.
Incorporating folic acid with vitamin B-12 cuts down the risk of getting macular degeneration.
Some of the natural sources of Vitamin B-12 include mussels, crab, oysters, turkey, chicken, shellfish, fortified soy and cereals, and fishes such as trout, herring, and others.
Zinc is one of the primary metals responsible for maintaining proper functioning of the human eye.
Most doctors agree that an appropriate intake of zinc is necessary to ensure maximum eye health. The macula part of the eyes, which include the choroid and the retina, has a high concentration of zinc compared to any other part of the eye.
Zinc is involved in the conversion of beta-carotene, mainly found in green and leafy vegetables, into vitamin A, which lowers the risk of night blindness.
When you combine zinc with Vitamin C and E, it may also slow down the early development of eye diseases such as macular degeneration, particularly among the elderly.
Some zinc rich foods include lobster, eggs, mixed nuts, beans, shrimps, garlic, spinach, dark chocolate, and brown rice.
Selenium is another antioxidant that helps in fighting diseases and infection prevention.
The mineral is mostly known for preventing free radical harm and damage to the macula part of the eye and lens.
Therefore, low concentrations of selenium in your body can increase the chance of developing eye impairing ailments like cataracts or macular degeneration.
Good sources of selenium include red meat, oats, onions, crab, shrimp and brown rice.
Chromium is a vital mineral that helps reduce or relieve intraocular pressure; a problem that is becoming more common due to the strain on the eyes from staring at computer monitors for extended periods of time.
Food rich in chromium can improve vision by reducing stress on the ocular muscles.
Primary sources or chromium include romaine lettuce, onions, molasses, wheat germ, green beans, and bran cereals.
Foods and Drinks for Healthy Eyes
Our eye health is of critical importance to our lives. To maintain healthy eyes and good vision, it is essential to feed our bodies the building blocks they need to sustain top health.
Although I mentioned some various foods above, here are a few more specific foods which are great for your eye health:
As I mentioned before, green vegetables have high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. It’s been proven that they promote good eye health, in particular when it comes to degenerative eye diseases such as cataract and macular degeneration. Among the best foods of this type are broccoli, spinach, and peas.
Additional Reading: Kale and Spinach Benefits
Apricots and Blueberries
Eyes make extensive use of Vitamin A to repair damage to tissues and cells. The body cannot create this naturally, and instead, must liberate it from other sources.
Both apricots and blueberries are rich in lycopene and beta carotene, which the body uses to create Vitamin A.
Blueberries are not alkaline, so do not consume them if you have problems with acidic foods.
Read More: Are Blueberries Acidic?
Related to cranberries and blueberries, bilberries help to improve the flow of blood to the eyes. This, in turn, helps to improve vision and general eye health.
In fact, the benefits of bilberries have been known for a long time – they were even used by World War 2 fighters pilots to improve their sight at night.
Another for improving your vision is to drink a lot of herbal teas. Certain teas such as Wolfberry contain a lot of carotenoids which have been shown to improve eye health.
Chrysanthemum and peppermint teas are my two favorites plus they are both full of antioxidants
The Best Supplements for Eye Health
Along with eating a diet high in the nutrients listed above, you can also use a variety of dietary supplements for keeping your eyes healthy. Here are some of the best options:
Can-C Eye Drops
Can-C eye drops contain N-acetylcarnosine (NAC), a natural anti-oxidant nutrient which is efficient at reducing the free radical damage that speeds up aging of the body and development of cataracts.
NAC is also a very resilient type of carnosine, which makes it very effective in protecting eye lens proteins against free radical harm.
The eye drops also reverse the glycation process, cutting down the risk of cataracts.
Exercises to Keep Your Eyes Healthy
In our attempts to stay fit and healthy, we often go to the gym or even take long walk in the parks or gardens.
Most of the exercises that we do are usually for the arms, legs and torso. We are always trying to look good physically. But what about our eyes?
Fitness for your eyes is very important for a lifetime of good vision!
Have you ever thought about the strain on this organ which is constantly moving and undergoing huge strains because of our sedentary lifestyles today?
We usually spend hours glued to the computer screens while doing our work.
Medically it is proven that this constant strain is the leading cause for migraines and headaches.
This chronic headache often goes unnoticed until its symptoms start expanding to irritation in eyes, redness in eyes and burning sensations. All of this paves way for other serious illnesses.
That is why it is even more important for us today to notice these lifestyle issues and work towards trying to solve them.
Now I don’t expect you to go to the gym to exercise your eye!
Rather there are many simple activities that you can do sitting where you are sitting right now and reduce the eye stress by a large percentage.
Keep reading below to learn more!
Now this might seem to be unnecessary, considering we blink so many times a day!
But if you are to observe yourself when working on the computer, you will realize that you blink very few times in long periods, and that is one of the initial starts to excessive eye strain.
It has serious implications on your eye health.
To counter this, try the blinking exercise. To start with, sit comfortably wherever you are. Then very quickly 10-15 times.
Allow your eyes to relax for the next 20-30 seconds. This exercise should be repeated at-least five times for the sake of your eyes.
This is one of the most soothing eye exercises to keep your eyes relaxed. This exercise can be done anywhere and at any time. Whenever you feel any irritation in the eyes or a burning sensation then try the palming exercise to feel better.
In this exercise one must initially sit comfortably with their breathing relaxed and in control. Remove your spectacles or other eye wears. Bring your palms together and rub them vigorously.
Allow your palms to get significantly hotter. Then place your palms on your eyes. Feel the heat transferring from your palms to the eyes.
Allow yourself to feel relaxed until the heat is completely transferred. Then remove the palms. Repeat the same procedure at least five times.
This might seem a little complex to carry out but this a simple one once you get the hang of it. This exercise helps in relaxing your optic muscles.
As always start with sitting in a comfortable position!
Then place the right hand on the right knee. Hold out your left hand with the thumb pointing upwards. The elbow should be kept straight while doing the exercise. Then form a vertical circle in the air with your left hand.
While forming the circle it is important to keep your head erect and at level and allow your eyes to follow the path of the thumb.
Complete at least eight revolutions with one hand and then try it with your other hand. As you get accustomed to this exercise then try to control your breathing while doing it.
Exhale when finishing the lower arc and inhale while completing the upper arc.
These exercises are not applicable for glaucoma treatment but are quite effective in mild strain situations.
Front and Sideways Viewing
This is one of the most important eye actions. Because of sitting for long hours in a fixed position it becomes more important to allow the eye to focus on something else through different directions.
First allow yourself to sit erect in a position that is comfortable. Then the left hand must be placed on the left knee with the thumb upwards.
Then one must look straight ahead at the level of the eyes. As one breathes out keep the focus on the left thumb.
Then while breathing in look straight ahead at the level of the eyes. During all this one must keep the head erect without moving it around. The process should be repeated with the right thumb.
All this calls for a break for two-three minutes before repeating the procedure again.
Near and Distant Viewing
This exercise needs a bit of movement as it needs you to be near a window or a view at something distant.
It is a fairly simple exercise in which one must first focus at the tip of the nose for 4-8 seconds while inhaling., and then as one exhales, the gaze should be shifted to something at a farther distance.
This exercise allows for the optic muscles to be more relaxed and strain-free.
These set of five exercises will definitely help you in avoiding chronic headaches and keep your eyes relaxed over a longer period of time.
Concluding Thoughts – Improving Your Eye Health
A well-balanced diet is vital for maintaining good vision and maximum eye health.
Eating food containing the vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients mentioned above will help prevent or reduce vision problems and eye diseases.
It will also ensure your eyes function properly. It is also important to make sure to visit an eye doctor if you experience any problems with your eyes so you can detect any issues going on early, and get treatment to prevent further problems or damage to the eye.
Add in some eye exercises, and you are on your way to impeccable eye health!
Lastly, you can purchase a couple supplements for eye health for a well-rounded approach to keeping your eyes healthy. If you do this, you are on your way to a set of healthy eyes!