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Taking proper care of your eye health

Those of us who can see are pretty dependent on our sense of sight. We use our eyes from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep in order to properly take in the world around us. Our eyes can alert us to dangerous situations. They allow us to read others’ facial expressions. They allow us to enjoy the beautiful looking things around us. So, you should do your utmost to look after them! Sure, it’s easy to take your eyesight for granted. But you will kick yourself down the line if you realise your eyesight could have been better, or if you find out that you could’ve done things to slow or prevent a condition upon experiencing said condition. So, here are a few things you should work into your lifestyle to take proper care of your eyes!

Have an Eye Test Once Every Two Years

Sure, you might have a busy schedule. Sure, you might feel that you have little free time on your hands and want to spend this free time with people you love or doing things you enjoy. But it’s not too much to ask to take an hour or two out of your schedule once every two years to book in an eye test. An eye test really is essential for your eye health. It can help to diagnose conditions that need to be tackled, such as glaucoma, cataracts or even wider health concerns like diabetes. These tests can also identify changes in your eyesight - most commonly deterioration. The check is short and pain free, so there’s really not much excuse to avoid checking in. If your optician notes any changes in your vision, they’ll be able to recommend glasses from this website or contact lenses.

Throw Out Old Eye Makeup

If you wear eye makeup - whether that’s mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow or anything else that comes into close proximity with your eyes - it’s essential that you throw it out and buy a new version every so often. Each item you own will have a use by date, often shown as a number on a jar. The number will indicate how long the product will be safe to use in months after opening. For example, a jar with 12 on should be used within 12 months of opening. The amount of bacteria that can grow in makeup products is astounding and you need to make sure that you aren’t putting these in contact with your eye through the use of makeup. So, every now and again, take a look through your makeup bag and throw out the products that need replacing. If possible, recycle the packaging for the sake of the environment too!

Feed your eyes - how can nutrition help?

Consumption of fruits and vegetables containing two carotenoid pigments may be linked to a reduced risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Carotenoids are phytochemicals (chemicals found in plants) commonly found in certain fruits and vegetables that provide the naturally vibrant colours of these foods. Lutein and zeaxanthin are two types of carotenoids, which are yellow to red pigments found widely in vegetables and other plants.

Where to find Lutein and Zeaxanthin

There are many food sources containing these two carotenoids – it is advisable to seek further nutritional advice for a full consultation if you are experiencing health concerns. The following foods are some examples of good sources of Lutein and Zeaxanthin: -

Egg Yolk – due to the fat content it is likely that the lutein and zeaxanthin are more easily absorbed by the body

Broccoli, Kale, Green Beans, Spinach, Peas, Brussel Sprouts

Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Parsley

Squash, Sun-dried tomatoes, Corn

Other health benefits of Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin appear to have important antioxidant functions in the body. Along with other natural antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E, these important pigments guard the body from damaging effects of free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can destroy cells and play a role in many diseases.

In addition to important eye and vision benefits, lutein may help protect against atherosclerosis (build-up of fatty deposits in arteries), the disease that leads to most heart attacks.

Nutrition for general eye-health

You don’t need to have or be concerned about AMD to think about what role nutrition plays to your eye-health. We’ve all heard the saying “carrots help you to see in the dark”. This isn’t an old wives tale – Vitamin A helps protect the surface of the eye (cornea) making it essential for good vision.

Good food sources of provitamin A carotenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupe melon.

Vitamin A from animal-derived foods is called retinol. Good food sources of retinol vitamin A include beef and chicken liver, whole milk and cheese.

As you can see, the steps listed above really aren’t all too difficult, nor are they time consuming. So, start working them into your routine to ensure you’re caring for your eyes as best possible. These simple changes could make all the difference!

Louise Mercieca

Nutritional Therapist

Personal Trainer

Award-winning Author

Food writer

Presenter on Early Years TV Food

Keynote speaker

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