March 26, 2014

Windows to the Soul: The Best Remedies for Healthy Eyes.


“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

~ Mark Twain

What a poignant saying with respect to how we see the world and our perceptions of people, places, and things. It is not so much as to what we see, but how we see, and who is on the receiving end of our gazes.

The eyes are the windows to the soul. Without great vision we literally lose sight of our ability to appreciate and admire all that the Universe provides. Our eyes become compromised with aging, environmental pollution, poor diets and lack of exercise—all downtrodden qualities similar to what our bodies get exposed to and have to deal with on a regular basis.

Some eye problems can be hereditary or genetic, but a predisposition to adverse eye situations might require taking that extra step to ensure that your vision remains intact and your beautiful peepers have a reason to accumulate the first sign of “what you see is what you get” action.

Our eyes are crucial lenses to filter in light and goodness, eliminate that which we choose not to see (suffering, abuse, violence, destruction) and they are the first responders to glorious sights of every creation in this world. If we want to maintain the health of our eyes over the years, it goes without saying that strengthening the eye muscles in general will give us a solitary measure against cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye disorders that might afflict us over time.

The cornea, pupil, lens, optic nerve, iris, vitreous, macula, and sclera are the intricate parts that make up the entire dimensions of the eyeball. Not all of us are born with 20/20 vision. There are theories as to what exactly “perfect” vision entails, however visiting an optometrist a time or two will give you an idea as to the very nature of how unique your eyes are by taking different eye exams and going from there.

Whether near-sighted or far-sighted, I can definitely attest to needing glasses for reading more often than not. Humbling at best, but allowing age-related discrepancies to hinder daily living won’t get me very far, and fortunately there are amazingly cool options in the glasses department.

Eyes need care and nurturing, as much as our hearts, minds and souls. It would be wise to nourish our eyes with these following rituals and foods:

1. Carrots

This Vitamin A-rich vegetable is the epitome of helping with night vision. Once dubbed the super food source of the fat soluble vitamin A (along with sweet potatoes), carrots were thought to be the cure for night blindness back in ancient times, and still rank highest in helping the mucous membranes of the eyes. A single carrot provides about 7800 IU of daily intake of Vitamin A. Raw and organic are best.

2. Give your eyes a 10 minute rest each day.

Closing your eyes for a respite will allow the entire body to reset and rejuvenate every day. If you are drained, the eyes may go into REM (rapid eye movement), but a typical nap during the afternoon relieves all the senses and nerve impulses of both the eyes and brain, and simply helps give the eyes a break. Covering your eyes with a comfortable and soft mask that filters out the light of the day helps tremendously with achieving greater rest.

3. Walk outside in nature

if you work in a fluorescent-filled environment for more than five hours per day, taking an outdoor walk does wonders for the eyes. Staring at a computer screen for hours on end, or subjecting our eyes to fake lighting takes a toll on our eyes, which can lead to migraines, persistently red and irritated eyes, and fatigue. Plan lunch breaks outside and in areas that offer natural outdoor settings. This will reinvigorate not only your eyes, but all of your senses.

4. Protect your eyes.

Wearing sunglasses during the sunniest times of the day and while driving will help sustain the strength of the eyes. When the eyeball has to strain constantly through squinting in the sun and trying to see the road ahead, it erodes our vision and forces the eyes to work harder—when they might not need to—by wearing proper protective sunglasses.

5. Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Healthy vision depends on these two antioxidants found in specific vegetables. Lutein and zeaxanthin already occur in high concentrations in the eyes, including the lenses, retina and macula, however both nutrients protect the eyes from harmful ultra-violet rays. Eating foods rich in these antioxidants, such as, spinach, broccoli, kale and tomatoes (fruit) can possibly slow the progression of macular degeneration, as well as give you a 50 percent less chance of developing cataracts.

6. Fish oil

Studies are coming out with even more benefits of fish oil and its help with age-related macular degeneration. If your diet is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (walnuts, fish, flax seeds), you are 40 percent ahead of the game in aiding the onset of ARMD.

7. Stop smoking

This addictive habit is one of the most destructive measures against our eyes. Smoking leads to vision loss and possible blindness by clouding the lenses and not allowing the healthy antioxidants to reach the eyes. Smoking causes constantly irritated eyes, and four times the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Even second-hand smoke affects our eyes, just as much as our lungs. Not a quality habit at all.

8. Limit technology usage

I had to save this one for last, as the progression of our world depends on devices that hurt our eyes day in and day out. Texting, computers, iPads, you name it, our devotion to the technology world is a secret killer to the eyes.

If we can disengage, lift our heads up, and look around, we might discover more about people and our world than burying our eyes in screens and blue backgrounds that lurk in front of us every hour. It also helps to have some natural eye drops handy to relieve any redness or dryness that develops from too much technology.

As our eyes are incredibly sensitive to what is present in each moment, it is with this knowledge that we must preserve and protect them through simple means. How can we ever understand another person or animal without looking into their eyes?

A soul speaks and connects through the two colorful windows we are born with, whether green, blue, brown or hazel, eye wellness can embody every purposeful nuance that threatens to pass us by. Be good to your eyes and just like the heart, they will always lead the way.


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Editor: Travis May

Photo: Wiki Commons

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