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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.
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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.
50 thoughts on “Improve Eye Health Naturally”
I didn’t know you could reverse astigmatism. That is great to know! Great tips!
I keep amazing my eye doctor. And the only thing that’s different is I switched to a plant based lifestyle.
Fantastic tips and advice! I have had vision problems for years! I’m going to give your tips a try, as I’m aging it seems to be getting worse! Thank you
Excellent! Let me know if you experience improvement.
This was fun to read just because eye health is something we don’t really think about. My eyes have been opened! (<– ha ha)
Then my post achieved its purpose! 😃
This is really interesting! I never knew you could actually improve your eye when they are already bad
I did not know that either until I began experiencing improvements AFTER switching to a plant based lifestyle. My eye doctor has been amazed. He actually said “Well I’ll be damned…” on my last visit. He couldn’t believe I’ve had such positive changes.
Great information. I had no idea. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you! Hope there’s something helpful there.
Great post. I think sometimes people forget about the eyes and it is so important to take care of yourself what ever age you are. Thank you for sharing this natural information!
Yes! As we get older we realize how important eye health is.
I had no clue that switching to a plant based diet helped with eye health. I have recently switched to a plant based diet and am loving it so far.
That’s awesome! I started noticing changes in my eyes about a year into my plant based journey.
I just experienced a really bad eye strain. I found eye exercise helped a lot. I now do them several times per day. Thanks for sharing all of this additional information that I was not aware of but can certainly use now.
That’s great! I’ve not done the eye exercises but I should check into those.
So simple, yet so important. I sometimes long for the days before I needed glasses.
I understand! I had really poor eyesight as a child.
I’ve been wondering how my eyes will fare, now that I’m working 100% virtually. Thanks for the tips to keep them healthier!
You are most welcome!
Fascinating! I had lasik done many years ago and have also had ocular migraines. I do try to eat a nutrient-rich diet and take care of myself otherwise. I want to take care of my eyes!
You are the only other person who has said they have ocular migraines too.
Thank you for this information! Bad eyes run in our family, so I’m always interested to learn what we can be doing to help improve our vision.
Hope these tips help!
This was very interesting and informative. I spent many years in eye care early on and had not heard most of this. Way before plant based diets gained traction, but I like the 20/20/20 tip also!
I use that 20/20/20 tip throughout the day. I’m looking at a screen so much.
Amazing that you’ve improved your health simply through diet!
It is amazing! I’m grateful.
Awesome advice and tips! My eyes have changed so much since turning 40… but my doctor says they are healthy! Will look into some of your tips further for sure!
Really helpful, great tips!
That is cool that he could tell you made changes! My vision started getting better at age 27 and every year I go to the eye doctor he says my vision has improved!
Yes he surprised me with what he could see in my eyes. And that’s wonderful that your vision is improving!
Great suggestions. I actually gave myself eye damage from the sun – though wearing sunglasses, the sun here can be brutal and I was doing a lot of driving unfortunately into the sun. But all healed now but pretty impressive. So this is a great post to keep your eyes healthy. Thanks.
Glad you are healed!
I recently learned from my doctor the affects on my eyes of not wearing sunglasses. I had no idea! Now I have my kids wearing them as well. And being on a plant-based diet, I eat flaxseeds daily to get those omega-3s. I haven’t had an eye exam in years though. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get one!
Sounds like you have developed good health habits!
wow, cool info!
I’m so excited that, after being near-sighted and astigmatic since 3rd grade, this year I had cataracts removed from both eyes, and am now at least 20/20. What a relief!
So many great ideas! It’s important to protect our eyes. I have to wear sunglasses now, my eyes are so sensitive to the bright sun.
I’m amazed by how helpful sunglasses are!
Health from within. YES! Isn’t it amazing what an Iridologist can determine? The eyes are truly windows to the soul. Thank you for your great suggestions for eye health!
It was amazing what my eyes told him!
I have one eye that sometimes waters spontaneously. The only thing that has helped (not the eye drops from the optometrist, btw) is reducing the inflammatory foods in my diet, so glad you mentioned that here.
I’m glad to read that it’s improving!
This is amazing!! I have horrible eyesight and lately it’s changing! I wondered if it was due to my lifestyle change to cleaner eatting?!?! Thank you for all this information!
I believe that! Healthy eating has changed mine.
This is great information! I have some problems with my eyes lately. I use my cell phone for many things, including this sharing group.
I’m staring at a screen throughout the day too. I use that 20-20-20 rule to ease eye strain.