Connie Hernandez, N.D.
When was the last time your family physician spent time talking to you about improving your eyesight and keeping your eyes healthy for the rest of your life?
Eye care isn’t high on the most health care professionals’s agenda, other than suggesting we wear polarized sunglasses, and maybe administering simple vision tests.
Yet, as we age, and as we spend increasing time peering at device and computer screens, the need to take care of our eyes looms larger.
Eye Conditions Can Reflect Whole-Body Problems.
Hypertension and blood sugar imbalances top the list of whole-body syndromes that can affect our eyes.
Lifestyle choices can also complicate the picture. Anything that increases free radical production will contributes to poor eye health – and anything that decreases free radicals will be helpful.
Smoking is particularly damaging to the eyes, while consuming antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory foods is very helpful. Carotenoid and anthocyanin-rich vegetables and fruits, and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids top the list of eye-healthy foods. Think kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, salmon, blueberries, strawberries, citrus, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Targeted supplements are also useful. It’s difficult to get therapeutic levels of antioxidants through in our food, even if our diet is otherwise excellent.
Effective eye health formulas contain antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, and vitamins A, C, E and zinc. Taking some of these nutrients intravenously can be a very useful option when dietary nutrient absorption is poor.
Dry Eye Syndrome is most effectively treated from the inside, with therapeutic doses of essential fatty acids and N acetyl cysteine or glutathione, all of which can be administered intravenously. These remedies have been proven more effective than artificial tears.
Eye discomfort can often be addressed with compresses. Warm black tea bags (not herbal, just your standard black tea) can reduce inflammation and draw infection from the eyelids, because of black tea’s high tannin content.
Styes will often respond to the same treatment. The traditional remedy of placing cucumber slices over the eyes is effective, as are raw potato slices that soothe puffy eyes and reduce swelling.
Homeopathic eye drops such as the Similasan series, sold in health stores, can alleviate many eye symptoms.
“Palming,” one of the Bates Method eye exercises, can also do wonders for your tired eyes. Rub your palms together, then cup your palms over your eyes and do some conscious breathing.
The Bates Method will teach you exercises can help enhance and preserve your vision, including eye movements, conscious focusing, muscle relaxation, and more.
Environmentally, sunlight exposure can make a big difference. Artificial lighting is disruptive to sleep, mood, and circadian rhythms, and can adversely affect many aspects of your health, including your eyes.
LCDs, some LEDs, fluorescent bulbs, and other artificial lights sources are fatiguing to the eyes and may impair vision.
UV and IR radiation can cause lesions in the cornea and in the lens of the eye (the sun’s UV rays being a known cause of cataracts).
These exposures can be countered by wearing protective lenses (blue light protection when using computer screens, polarized lenses when outdoors).
Even better is taking time to bathe the eyes in the sun’s natural light – of course, it isn’t necessary to gaze directly at the sun, a dangerous practice except for brief periods when the sun is very low on the horizon, at dusk and dawn, and its harmful actinic rays are filtered by the earth’s atmosphere.
In addition to the above suggestions, breathing and movement exercises, therapeutic yoga, and acupuncture can help relieve eye fatigue and normalize vision.
Acupuncture can treat a number of eye conditions. See Anandini’s recent article, “New Hope for Failing Eyesight.” You may also request a short, free phone consult with Anandini to see if she can help with your eye issues. Also see Adrianna Buenaventura’s therapeutic eye exercises in her recent article, “Yoga Therapy for Eye Strain.”
Read more about Dr. Connie’s work HERE