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Healthy Living

The “Do’s and Don’ts” for Healthy Eyes & Vision



No one wants to end up living in everlasting darkness. Your eyes are the windows to your world. To enjoy autumn in its splendid glory, catch that smile from that special someone, or watch your grandchild discover a duckling. Vision is a priceless asset that helps ensure your independence and freedom as you age.

Unfortunately, our modern world is plagued with challenges for your eyes. Knowing what damages your precious eyes, and what can soothe and strengthen them, you can better negotiate this maze with confidence.

The “Don’ts”

Things that harm your eyes:1 2

  • Rubbing your eyes – can damage delicate vessels and muscles of the eye (and cause wrinkles)
  • Spending too much time looking at screens – high energy blue-light damages your retina
  • Reading screens in the dark – your pupils dilate in the dark and contract in the light; using screens in the dark confuses your eyes and can expose your retina to severe damage
  • Smoking – skyrockets free radicals and oxidative damage, inflammation, and irritate sensitive eye tissue
  • Not eating a balanced diet – impaired nutrient delivery to support healthy eye metabolism
  • Not wearing eye protection – puts you at risk for injury
  • Skimping on sleep – dramatically reduces detoxification of cellular waste
  • Forgetting your sunglasses – the sun’s UV rays damages your retina, cornea, and lens and is cumulative
  • Using expired eye makeup – old cosmetics can harbor bacteria that can irritate or harm your eyes3
  • Skipping out on your eye exams – best to discover a problem early than deal with the aftermath
  • Wearing contact lenses too long (or wearing them in the shower) – improper cleaning and use of contacts can lead to corneal ulcers and serious infections4

The “Do’s”– Eye Soothing & Strengthening Exercises

These simple and quick exercises can help alleviate eye strain and keep your eye muscles strong.5

1. Palming
Vigorously rub the palms of your hands until they are warm and gently cover your eyelids. Let the warmth of your palms transfer to your eyes. Feel relief as your eye muscles relax in the heat and darkness. Continue until the warmth has completely dissipated. Repeat two to three times for a quick soother. (Taking a few deep breaths can aid oxygen and nutrient delivery, plus calm you too.)
2. Blinking
Sit comfortably with your eyes open. Blink rapidly 10-15 times. Close your eyes and relax for 20 seconds. Repeat this 4-5 times. This method helps re-moisturize your eyes.
3. Zooming
Like a telescope finds its field of vision, shift the focus to zoom-in on an object. Outstretch your arm with your thumb up (you could also use a pencil). Gradually draw your thumb closer to your eyes until you feel you’re going cross-eyed. Then slowly move your thumb away again. Repeat a few times. This exercise helps you keep your vision crystal clear.
4. Shifting
Shifting is about stretching and strengthening your eye muscles. Keep your head still and forward-facing. Move your eyes only to look to your right upper corner, and then shift your gaze gradually in the opposite direction. Next, look at the top left corner and then the right bottom. Then up and down. This system also enhances blood circulation to the tiny muscles that support your eyes.
5. Figure Eights
Focus on an area about 8 feet away. Trace an imaginary figure-8 for about 30 seconds and then switch directions.

Doing these exercises at least 3 times a week, is an effective way to soothe, strengthen, and enhance nutrient and oxygen delivery to your eyes.

The 20-20-20 Rule

We’re all tethered to our digital technology. Does your job include staring at a screen all day long? Do you read using a tablet? That can lead to eye problems called Computer Vision Syndrome, including eye strain, dry eyes, watering, and blurred vision.

The American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend The 20-20-20 Rule.6 7 A 2013 study with 795 university students found that those who followed this rule, had fewer symptoms.8

The 20-20-20 Rule involves picking a spot about 20 feet away from your computer, like a flower or tree through a window is also soul-nurturing. Every 20 minutes, look at that spot for 20 seconds. This technique helps reboot your eyes and dramatically reduces eye strain.

You can alternatively close your eyes for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Adding the Blinking method before or after this can restore moisture and stimulate tear production, preventing dry eyes, irritation, and strain. If you’re stuck at a desk all day, getting up for a stretch and brief walkabout would also help prevent back and neck aches associated with it.

There are apps you can download that will prompt you with a reminder, such as ProtectYourVision and eyeCare are two examples.

Your eyesight needs Tender, Loving Care, just like your complexion, hair, and body. We invest time, effort, and money on our looks and gym memberships. Rarely do we consider our eyes and vision as part of a health regime.

These “Do’s & Don’ts” of healthy vision will dramatically improve your chances of never discovering what you’ll do without your valuable eyesight.

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