Nourish - Supporting Eye Health Naturally: Lifestyle Habits | Part One
Welcome to part one of a four-part blog series on supporting eye health naturally. Check out part two, three and four here.
Our eyes are amazing organs. After the brain, they are the next most complex organ in the human body. They absorb light from the objects around us and send signals to the brain where an image is created. This then allows us to see and to connect with the outside world.
It goes without saying really that our eyes are a vital organ, so it’s enormously important to look after them. But in the modern world we’re living in, it really can be difficult to maintain good eye health. Our eyes are affected by so many things!
- the weather
- air conditioning
- contact lenses,
- lack of sleep
- nutritional deficiencies
- computer screens
- and ageing can affect them.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are many small changes to your daily routine that you can make. These will help to take the stress off your eyes, help to protect them and help to reduce the chances of developing an eye problem or eye condition in the future.
Here’s where to start: Supporting Eye Health Naturally: Lifestyle habits
No. 1 – Implement Better Technology Habits
If you’re being honest with yourself, how often do you spend looking at a computer, TV or your phone each day? I’m betting it’s a lot more than you think.
Maybe you’re working at a computer for 8 hours a day. Then add the time you spend checking your emails, social media and/or watching T.V. It all adds up to a significant amount of time in front of a screen, with a large exposure to artificial blue light.
Hands up who knows what one of the biggest offenders to eye health is?
Yes – blue light.
Blue light is damaging to the eyes. Unlike other UV rays that are blocked by the cornea and the lens, practically all visible blue light passes through and goes straight to the light-sensitive retina. Over time this can cause damage that may lead to vision loss, deterioration and degenerative conditions.
Being exposed to small, healthy amounts of blue light from sunlight during the day is highly unlikely to cause any problems. But it’s the disproportionate exposure of time in front of electronic devices, (especially at night) which can cause eye fatigue and other symptoms such as:
- dry eyes
- blurred vision
- difficulty focusing
- difficulty sleeping
The answer? Implement better technology habits.
It’s very important that you take regular breaks by looking away from the screen every 15 to 20 minutes for a minimum of 20 seconds. There’s a method called 20:20:20 – meaning every 20 minutes look about 20ft for 20 seconds.
This can also help prevent eye strain, headaches and dry eyes. After staring intensely at the screen, many people actually stop blinking as often as they should!
Try putting a post-it note next to your screen to remind you to blink – it helps!
Stop using your devices at least an hour before bed (if not more)
Scrolling through your phone, watching TV or playing with electrical devices before sleep can seriously interrupt your sleeping patterns and even your sleep/wake hormones.
The artificial blue light from televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets suppresses the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Your body relies on this hormone to determine the time of day. This suppression ends up making your body think its time to be active, instead of asleep.
If you’ve been struggling to fall to sleep and can’t figure out why this may be the cause.
Install blue light filters on devices
Another trick is to install a blue light filter on your PC and smartphone to reduce the amount of blue light, especially in the evening.
Reduce the amount of time spent on electronic devices
I know this may be a struggle, but if you’re suffering from eye strain and problems focusing, headaches or difficulties sleeping, you may well benefit from replacing your onscreen time with a change of scene. Instead of flicking on the T.V or scrolling through Instagram, call a friend, go for a run, roll out the yoga mat, finish off your household tasks. Basically what I’m saying is replacing the mindless scrolling and onscreen habits with something else, for your eye’s sake.
No. 2 – Wear Sunglasses
It’s not only our skin that’s sensitive to the sun. It’s equally as important to look after our eyes too.
When you’re outside, and especially on sunny days, or whilst our by water or doing snow/water sports-based activities, wear sunglasses. Preferably ones that provide both 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
No. 3 – Wear Prescription Glasses if You’re Supposed To
In order to prevent further strain and stress on your eyes, make sure to wear your glasses when you’re supposed to. This will also help to prevent your eyesight from deteriorating further.
No. 4 – Follow Correct Contact Lens Practice
If you’re a contact lens wearer, it is essential that you follow the correct contact lens practice. This includes making sure your hands are clean before inserting your lenses, cleaning the lenses daily and changing them when advised. Also making sure you get regular eye exams to make sure the lenses are suitable for you.
Personally, I had to change from monthlies to dailies because they were drying my eyes out too much.
Another biggie is to only wear them when necessary and make sure to take a day or two off from wearing them to rest your eyes. Try to take your contacts out before your eyes get dry. And if you’re going out in the evening and have been wearing them all day, try to take your contact lenses out for an hour or so in between to give your eyes a rest, and most importantly, to clean and refresh your contact lenses.
No. 5 – Keep Your Eyes Moist
It’s essential for your eye health to maintain moist eyes at all times. If you find that you’re suffering from dry eyes and you’ve ruled out anything serious with your optician, then it could be caused from anything, from:
- the weather
- air conditioning
- hormonal imbalances
- vitamin deficiency
- spending too much time focusing on up-close objects or at the computer.
Of course, the most simple method is to make sure that you fully blink throughout the day to moisten your eyes. And although it sounds easy, if you’re working at a computer, you’d be surprised how little you blink! Consciously look away from the screen regularly to make sure you’re resting and blinking your eyes.
If you live in a dry area, or are exposed to air conditioning/heating regularly and need some extra moisture, you can use eye drops such as A. Vogel Eye Drops or get yourself a humidifier or diffuser.
A.Vogel’s Eye Drops, contain the herb Euphrasia and help to soothe your dry, tired and irritated eyes. These eye drops are suitable for contact lens wearers, as they can even be used whilst wearing your lenses.
Another trick is to take flax oil daily. Many a customer has been sent our way in nourish by their optician to get themselves a bottle of the stuff. It works wonders from the inside out.
No. 6 – Exercise
Exercise isn’t just good for your heart and digestion. It’s also vital for supporting healthy vision. Get that blood pumping and aim for at least 30 minutes a day of exercise.
No. 7 – Make-Up Hygiene
Our eyes are delicate, sensitive organs, so it’s very important to be careful when it comes to using eye makeup. Poor makeup hygiene is a big contributing factor in the development of a number of eye problems and conditions, especially bacterial e.g conjunctivitis.
Remove makeup before sleep
This removes potential irritants and prevents bacteria from building up. Your eyes use this time to clean themselves and rest, and makeup can complicate this process.
Don’t share your makeup
Sharing makeup makes transferring of infection from one person to another far too easy.
Sharing makeup with someone opens you up to problems like infective conjunctivitis, especially if your sharing buddy doesn’t know they have it. Makeup provides a breeding ground for bacteria which is easily transferred into the eyes if you aren’t careful. This can lead to conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis and keratitis, and many other unpleasant symptoms.
Don’t use makeup while you have an infection
Speaking of infections – don’t use eye makeup when you have an eye infection.
This will slow down the healing process by irritating the eye and could even introduce new infections into an already susceptible eye.
If you do use makeup during this time you will have to throw it away anyway since it will become infected – and you don’t want an infection again I’m sure!
Regularly wash makeup brushes and applicators
One step that many people forget – to wash their brushes and applicators. It may seem a faff, but this will remove any bacteria that has started growing there, and although it’s not visible, it’s certainly there. If you’re having breakouts regularly, it could be down to not cleaning your brushes.
Dr Bronner’s liquid castile soap makes for an excellent soap to clean your brushes.
Choose Natural Makeup
Many makeup brands put harmful chemicals into their products that can cause irritation which can lead to dry eyes, itchy eyes, watery eyes and puffy eyes.
An allergic reaction to the chemicals in makeup may cause allergic conjunctivitis, as well as irritated, itchy or watery eyes.
We stock Dr Hauschka and Benecos to cover your make up needs 🙂
If you find that your eyes are dry or irritated after a long day of wearing makeup, try using A. Vogel eye drops after cleaning off your makeup to keep eyes moist, irritant-free and healthy.
Please be aware that this information is simply a guide to helping you take up some good lifestyle practices to look after your eye.
If you think there is something wrong with your eyes or that you are experiencing symptoms such as eye pain, bleeding of the eye or sudden blurry vision it is important you consult your optician or GP, and always follow their advice. We only have one pair of eyes, so it’s important to look after them!
Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.
*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention.
Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication.