Our eyes have a higher metabolic rate resulting in quicker free radical formation, which means cells in the eye have a hyperbolic need for protecting antioxidant nutrients like vitamin A, C and E.
“Work From Home” has been a serious concern around the world amid deadly pandemic. WFH actually means: being in front of a screen: computer or tablet or smartphone, at all times on a daily basis. This extended digital device usage in blue lights at close distance, is leading our generation to digital eye strain or screen vision syndrome, a group of eye and vision related problems: eyestrain, blurry vision, trouble focusing at a distance, dry eyes and even headaches. Be vigilant about eye-related issues, such as dry eyes, cataracts, macular degeneration. Take care of your eyes everyday to maintain good eye health.
Our eyes have a higher metabolic rate resulting in quicker free radical formation, which means cells in the eye have a hyperbolic need for protecting antioxidant nutrients like vitamin A, C and E. Oxidative damage caused by vulnerability to environmental pollution, smoke, harmful rays and increased screen time can slowly take a toll on the eye cells and may affect eyesight. But these antioxidants work to halt this damage by neutralizing free radicals. Tears are water-based, but they also contain a mucus and oil component, so a lack of essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA may lend to dry eye symptoms. Consult a dietitian nutritionist to eat-right and protect your eye-sight. A nutritious diet full of healthy fats, antioxidants (function as a natural sunblock) and anti-inflammatories may help keep eyes healthy. The specific nutrients our eyes need include the following:
Vitamin A is required to maintain functioning of the cornea and is part of the pigment rhodopsin, which enables light to be converted into electrical signals that get interpreted as vision. Not only vit-A, other eye nutrients like vit-C, vit-E, zinc, selenium, and omega-3s, are worth adding to our daily meals for eye health.
Beta carotene is an antioxidant that converts into vitamin A and is the deep yellow/orange pigment in color-rich vegetables like carrots, papaya, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. Vit-A nourishes the cornea and retina to work properly. Eating yellow/orange pigment in colored vegetables has become synonymous with having good eyesight and healthy eyes. They contain lycopene, a carotenoid that appears to slow cataract formation. Vit-A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children worldwide.
Vitamin C produces collagen, a structural protein to our eyes. It helps prevent or delay age-related eye damage by repairing and growing new tissue cells. Studies suggest vitamin C might help prevent cataracts (clouding of eye lens) and the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Good sources of vitamin C include raw: amla, bell peppers, oranges, and lemons. Collectively, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, mangoes, papaya, apricots, and oranges are rich in vitamins A, C, and E.
Zinc and copper fights free radicals and are vital to retinal health as they delay the AMD and eyesight loss.
Zeaxanthin, lutein and vit-C are antioxidants that protect the macula and can lower risks of developing AMD, cataracts, or other eye damage. Dark, leafy greens (spinach, and other dark greens) are top sources of lutein and zeaxanthin that absorb a substantial amount of blue light rays, preventing them from entering the interior eye to keep light-induced free radicals from harming eye cells. Regular intakes of dark greens can increase circulating levels of these antioxidants.
Vitamin E is responsible for protecting the fatty acids in retina from harmful oxidation. Omega-3 fatty acids are the healthy fats essential for retinal health and for tear function. They help reduce risks of developing eye disease. Eating oily fish like tuna, sardines, salmon, trout and mackerel, may provide some relief from dry eye syndrome caused by inadequate tear production and a lack of tear film over the eyes. Incorporating more vit-E rich foods like eggs, almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and peanut butter are all important for eye health. Other good sources of vit-E include nuts and seeds: sunflower, chia, or flax seeds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews, and other nuts.
In addition to eating well, when it comes to eye health, one should:
- Avoid rubbing eyes.
- Use protective eyewear.
- Never look directly at the sun.
- Limit sun exposure and wear sunglasses blocking 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays, when you’re outdoors.
- Splash eyes with cold water 2-4 times a day.
- Cut overall screen time and wear blue light-filtering glasses.
- Have your eyes examined regularly, even if you haven’t noticed problems.
- Follow proper contact-lens care instructions, if any.
EYE EXERCISES TO IMPROVE VISION HEALTH
These eye exercises may help to relax eye fatigue and keep eyes healthy from becoming strained or irritated. Set up your workplace cautiously. Placement of computer monitor should be within 20″-24″ of your eyes. Keep the computer screen slightly below your eyes level. Set lighting to minimize glare from windows and lights on the screen. Blink frequently to protect your eyes from tiredness.
The 20-20-20 rule: Practice to look away from digital screen every 20 minutes. Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds, to rest your eyes. This prevents eye fatigue due to blue lights.
Blinking breaks: When glued to TV/ Laptop screen, generally we forget to blink. This can cause our eyes to become dry or irritated. Set reminders to take tiny blinking breaks to refresh your eyes.
Palms for relaxation: Place your palms over your closed eyes, without putting any pressure, until it’s completely black, for about 30 seconds. It also helps with eye fatigue and eye relaxation.
Figure eight: Train yourself to draw imaginary a big number eight on the wall or in the air – 10 feet away for a few times.
Roll your eyes: The eye-rolling exercises means to look right and left without moving your head. Followed by looking up and down, without moving your head.
The eyes are very sensitive to the hot air during summer. Eye care becomes quintessential to our overall well-being as the temperatures rise.
The eyes are very sensitive to the hot air during summer. Eye care becomes quintessential to our overall well-being as the temperatures rise. This scorching heat is extremely harmful to the eyes. Because of the high levels of pollutants and irritants in the air, our eyes may have allergic reactions. Redness, itching, burning sensation, watery eyes, and gritty eyes are the well-known signs of eye suffering. While these issues are usually temporary, they can be highly uncomfortable. Focus on eating fabulous foods to boost eye health is one of the most important things you can do for your eye health. Sunny days call for polarized sunglasses and head covers, protecting the eye area from damage from ultraviolet light. Staying hydrated is another cornerstone. Happy summers!
Composed by: “Dr. Swati Dave is a dietician and currently associated with ESIC Model Hospital in Gujarat. Her research interest lies in Clinical nutrition,Community nutrition and Public health nutrition.”