What can I do to improve my eye health? I’ve recently been prescribed reading glasses and don’t want my eyesight to deteriorate further.
Although you don’t mention your age, changes to your eyesight are a natural part of the ageing process.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids which are crucial to eye health. Lutein is present in leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts and broccoli, while zeaxanthin can be found in yellow and orange produce. Eggs contain both lutein and zeaxanthin.
It is important to include healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, seafood or cold-pressed oils with your eggs, brightly coloured vegetables, and leafy greens since lutein in particular needs fats present for bioavailability.
When it comes to eye health, the trans fats found in processed and fried foods are particularly damaging and increase the risk for macular degeneration and other issues.
One of the most beneficial fats for eye health is DHA, (docosahexanoic acid). DHA is present in the retina and has a number of proven benefits for both eye and brain health, protecting against a number of degenerative eye conditions. Fatty fish contains DHA, or you can choose a supplement form, particularly if you are looking for plant-based sources. Most health stores have a wide range of DHA supplements to choose from.
Along with getting the right essential fatty acids in your diet, you will need to make sure that you eat plenty of foods rich in vitamins A, C, E and the minerals selenium and zinc. This is also easily achieved by eating all of the foods mentioned earlier.
Strengthen eye muscles by choosing a close object to focus on (you can use your thumb) and hold it about 25cm/10in away from your face. Now choose a distant object - about 4.5m/15ft away from you. With each breath switch your focus between the near and far objects.
Improve flexibility by rolling your eyeballs in the shape of the infinity symbol. Move your eyes, slowly tracing the infinity pattern in one direction for 2 minutes, then switch to the other direction for 2 minutes.
Blinking is important, and many of us don’t do it often enough now that we spend more time looking at screens. Simply blink, count to three, then blink again, repeating this for two minutes.
Palming your eyes is both beneficial and relaxing, helping to relieve stress in the eye area. Sit at a desk or table and breathe deeply. Rest your elbows on the table and close your eyes. Place your palms over your eyes and cup your eye sockets for a couple of minutes. Ensure that the pressure is gentle - the point is relaxation and stress relief.
I’m finding it difficult to concentrate at work. I often end up taking work home. Is there a remedy you could recommend?
Concentration, focus, and memory are areas where gentle exercise can have a significant benefit. Qi Gong is a form of breath and movement therapy that will help to re-energise your system and shift your vital force. This should not only help with concentration issues, but also a general sense of wellbeing and clarity.
Qi gong helps significantly with managing stress and anxiety, which have been shown to interfere with concentration, memory, and recall. As an additional bonus, this work can help bring your hormonal systems into balance. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are also required to support mood, concentration, and focus along with regulating inflammation within the body.
Nuts, seeds, fatty fruits, and oily fish are all great sources. The omega-6 fatty acids are particularly important in brain health, while the omega-3 fatty acids are useful in regulating inflammation.GABA (Gamma Aminobutyric Acid) is found naturally in our brains, a neurotransmitter that is key to neuron activity – basically helping your brain cells relay and communicate effectively.
There are certain types of tea, in particular, oolong tea, that have been shown to contain significant levels of GABA.