This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.
August is National Eye Exam Month. It serves as an excellent reminder to get our eyes checked and also to care for them throughout the year.
I have a long history of eye issues, from nearsightedness and astigmatism to ocular migraines and retinal bleeds. Gratefully, my eye health continues to improve with a plant based lifestyle.
You can improve eye health naturally too, with these easy to implement tips.
Ways to Improve Eye Health Naturally
Regular eye exams are an important way to monitor eye health and note any changes. And approximately 75% of adults need vision correction in the form of contact lenses or glasses.
Your ophthalmologist needs to know your family’s eye health history as well. Certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and optic atrophy, are hereditary.
Check out these other ways of improving eye health.
Eat a Nutrient Rich Diet
Add plenty of nutrient rich, colorful fruits and vegetables to your diet. These foods provide vitamins A, C and E and contain antioxidants that help prevent macular degeneration, a condition in which central vision deteriorates. The mineral zinc is important too.
Add these foods to meals throughout the week:
- red bell peppers
- strawberries and other berries
- sweet potatoes
- citrus fruits
Flax seeds are an important addition, especially to a plant based diet. They provide omega-3 fatty acids, which help improve eye health.
Leafy green vegetables, broccoli and zucchini supply lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids important to retinal health. These are available as supplements as well.
Protect Eyes with Protective Wear
Whether you are working with tools, performing science experiments, mowing the yard or playing sports, protect eyes with appropriate eyewear.
Choose protective, shatterproof goggles to keep foreign objects, chemicals or sharp objects from entering the eyes.
Shades do more than make us look cool, they block up to 99% of UVA and UVB radiation from sunlight. Sunglasses protect the eyes from damage that can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and pterygium, a condition in which tissue grows over the whites of the eyes.
Wearing a wide brimmed hat also shields the eyes from too much sun.
Keep Hands Clean
This year our awareness increased greatly concerning the importance of clean hands. Because we frequently touch our faces and rub our eyes, clean hands prevent introducing germs, viruses and infections into the eyes.
Always wash hands before touching the eyes or handling contact lenses. Germs on contact lenses can lead to bacterial infections in the eyes. Change lens solution daily. And never share lenses.
Toss out old bottles of eye drops as well.
We know smoking harms our health, and that includes eye health as well. Smokers greatly increase their risks for developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Smoking also creates inflammation throughout the blood vessels within the eyes.
However, just like the lungs, the eyes begin to heal almost immediately, once smoking ceases. For better eye health and health in general, stop smoking.
Maintaining a healthy weight not only improves overall health, it helps the eyes. Type 2 diabetes, which is more common in overweight people, can damage the small blood vessels in the eyes.
Consuming too much sugar can create diabetic retinopathy, which causes the small arteries in the retina to leak blood into the eye, impairing vision.
Take Frequent Screen Time Breaks
Staring at a phone or computer screen for long periods of time creates eye strain and blurred vision. To ease the strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule.
For every 20 minutes of screen time, stop and look at an object 20 feet away, for 20 seconds. (I’ve practiced this multiple times while typing this post!)
Diseases other than diabetes affect eye health as well. High blood pressure and autoimmune disorders, which are linked to chronic inflammation, create problems throughout the body, including the eyes.
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet and limit gluten and dairy products. They aggravate and increase inflammation.
And manage stress, as it triggers an inflammatory response in the body. Try exercise, yoga, meditation, gardening, walking or deep breathing to lower stress. Drink herbal tea as part of your stress busting practice as well.
Pay Attention to Changes
And finally, pay attention to any changes in eye health and vision.
Experiencing frequent headaches or blurry vision? Feeling pain behind one eye or noticing an increase in floaters? These are signals that you need to see an eye doctor.
Years ago, I began experiencing flashing lights followed by a loss of vision for about 30 minutes. The first time it happened, I ended up in the ER with a suspected stroke. Many tests and MRIs ruled out blood clots and tumors. Finally an eye specialist determined the cause….ocular migraines.
I saw the same specialist when blood vessels in my retinas ruptured, in each eye on two different occasions.
Know what is normal for your eyes and vision and see a doctor immediately if something changes.
Improved Eye Health
Switching to a plant based lifestyle improved my eye health and vision drastically.
I still wear contact lenses, however I no longer have astigmatism. And at age 62, I do not require bifocals, much to my eye doctor’s surprise. I wore reading glasses for a very short time, thinking I “needed” them, until I realized they gave me headaches. A year ago I stopped wearing them and haven’t put them on since.
The blood vessels in my retinas have not ruptured again and in the last four years I’ve only experienced two ocular migraines. Before going plant based, I had them multiple times a year.
And amazingly, a couple of years ago I received an iridology reading at a local health fair. In case you are unfamiliar with that, an iridologist utilizes lights, magnifying glasses, mirrors and cameras to examine the iris. He or she looks for irregularities, changes and pigment patterns to determine the health of the individual.
The iridologist studied my right eye and then laughed in amazement. He said my iris showed him that I recently changed my diet and that my body benefited greatly. I verified that information. He showed me, in a magnifying mirror, evidence that sciatic nerves healed and inflammation cleared up and healing occurred in multiple ways. With a grin, he said I possessed the clearest, healthiest eyes he’d seen all day and commended me for my health changes. His encouragement made me smile.
You can improve eye health naturally, too. Include the above practices in your life and see, literally, the difference they make.
Improve Eye Health with these Finds from Amazon:
Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.
I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.