When we think of staying in shape, we tend to think of going to the gym and adjusting our diet. But when it comes to health and fitness, your eyes need special attention, especially if you’re active. Below are ways to keep your eyes healthy through protection, nutrition, and training.
Protecting your eyesight during sports & recreation
From the professional to the recreational, and from the league to the backyard, athletes and outdoor enthusiasts need to protect their vision to keep them on the playing field. While you might think of protecting your knees as a runner or a skier, it’s equally important to protect your eyes if you want to stay in the game.
It’s important to note that ordinary glasses, contacts, and sunglasses do not protect against eye injuries. You’re going to need protective eyewear.
Goggles protect your eyes in many ways — from things like glare, U.V. rays, freezing wind, and flying snow.
If you wear glasses, you can still use goggles; you simply need to make sure they’re OTG (over-the-glasses) goggles. You can also use inserts; certain goggles are made to allow for inserts with prescription lenses, and some goggles can be made for your specific prescription.
Eye drops, especially for contact lens wearers, can help prevent dry eyes and irritation caused by windy or dry conditions or chlorine from swimming sports. Saline eye drops can also help prevent eye infection in swimmers.
Finally, sunglasses are absolutely necessary for your outdoor protection. They protect the cornea, lens, retina, and macula. Amber tints are especially helpful. Look for glasses that guarantee protection from all types of UV rays.
Eating for better eyesight
If you’re trying to get or stay in shape, a nutritious diet is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. To maintain eye health and boost your vision nutrition, eat (or drink) more of these healthy foods:
● Carrots and leafy green vegetables, like spinach and kale, can help protect your eyes against UV damage and boost overall retinal health.
● Magnesium, which can be found in dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains, is a good nutrient for maintaining healthy eye tissue.
● Vitamin C found in citrus fruits, red and green peppers, tomatoes, and strawberries helps repair damage to cells from heavy exercise.
● Beta-carotene, present in liver, egg yolks, milk, butter, and squash, helps support overall eye health.
● Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood, flaxseeds, chia seeds, soybeans, and walnuts help to regulate fluid movement and maintain healthy levels of fluid pressure in the eyes.
Exercising your eyes
Your eyes have muscles in them, but how often do you think of eye training? Most of us are too busy with biceps and abs to think about eye exercises. But athletes and active types need to include eye training along with their exercise regimen.
As we age— the muscles in our eyes become less flexible. But eye exercises can help ensure that eyes stay toned in skills like peripheral vision, long distance focus or dynamic visual acuity. Eye exercises also help increase circulation and energy flow. Here are some exercises that can help all of our eyes stay in shape:
● Some experts say that warming your eyes by rubbing your palms together and placing them against your eyes for about five seconds is a helpful everyday exercise for your eyes.
● Rolling your eyes is also a good exercise. You can start by looking up and then slowly rolling your eyes in a circle in 10 times in one direction, and then 10 times in the other direction.
● Focusing exercises can also help. Start by holding a pen at about arm’s length, focus on it, and then slowly bring the pen closer until it’s approximately six inches away from your nose. Then move it back, and repeat.
Carolina O. Polo is a writer at the LasikPlusMiami Surgeon Blog, where she covers eye health, eye care & technology. She currently lives in New York City and Miami.