Take care of your eyes as you get old by Anni Dahms

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By Anni Dahms
Qualified nurse, educated in nutrition and Naturopathy.

My father was a watchmaker. He made proof of an excellent vision while he had to work with lots of tiny parts and screws. He was really proud of his eyes. One day, to his great dismay, he realized he needed glasses to be able to read his newspaper like most of us do.
Our eyes are very vulnerable. One of the first signs that we have already spent our first youth is when we ‘find’ that the letters are incredibly small… We start having troubles reading the newspaper, the menu in a restaurant or our favourite magazine. In general, we may be able to see in the distance, but we experience trouble while trying to focus or watch something closely.
It is known that about 80 % of people over 75 suffer from cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration.
One of the main causes of deterioration of our eye health is the exposure to free radicals produced by ultraviolet light.
We can check our eye health by looking at the whites of the eyes. In a normal, healthy child, the whites of the eyes are of a bright white color. Then, as time goes by, they may turn yellowish and lose their original brightness, depending on how fit we keep and the food we eat. If we undertake a depurative cure or make some changes in our lifestyle our eyes health will improve. It is not for nothing that we use to say that ”the eyes are the mirror of the soul.”
If you suffer from red eyes, besides lack of sleep, it may be due to an infection of the small glands on the edge of the eye, this infection makes your eye edges look red. Eye redness can also be due to a lack of group B vitamins. Eyes redden especially after age 60. Many of us have seen pictures of older people, for example, our great grandparents, with their eyes white area of a reddish color.
We all know what it is to have dry eyes. Often, we rub our eyes a little bit and then keep working. Dry eyes can happen at any age, but is more frequent after age 40. It occurs when tear production is reduced or when tear evaporation is too high, so that the tear film is inadequate, perhaps due to artificial house heating, air, dust, many hours on airplanes, etc. The symptoms are varied and range from a slight burning to an itch that can be very painful.
There are many drugs that can cause dry eye as a side effect. Check with your doctor the medicines you are taking.

The Diet
We can help keep our eyes healthy through our diet. Most of us are really fortunate to live in some part of the world where there is great freedom to choose what to eat, what a great luck! Sit down at the table while you prepare yourself to enjoy a meal and use your eyes deliberately, looking to enjoy also with your eyesight the wonderful food you have chosen. Even if you have a busy schedule, try to choose a diet that is good for your eyes. Make a comprehensive meal plan. Do your shopping once a week, it will greatly facilitate your task, make it easier to avoid unhealthy temptations, and provide you with free time to spare on your favourite activities.
Here we point out some of the most basic rules. Firstly, avoid fast food, sausages, burgers and prepared meals, cheese and sugary foods. Although it seems that there are positive studies about aspartame, I think this artificial sweetener should be avoided. Aspartame, also known as NutraSweet, Canderel, etc… sweetens 200 times more than sugar, and is used in many non-alcoholic beverages and even in medicines. The Food and Drug Administration has exempted the product of harmful properties, however, there are many controversial positions on aspartame. Side effects observed are (among others) conduct disorder, headache, etc… To learn more about this substance, you can check: http://www.helsenyt.com or http://www.alun.dk. At the latter Internet address you will find a very interesting video on aspartame.
If you have a sweet tooth, you should try taking some dark chocolate, it contains a lot of good antioxidants.
Beware of taking too many fried foods. Avoid poor quality salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG). Use instead a good herbal salt, Himalayan or another type of good quality mineral salt.
You can take a glass of wine with meals but be careful with alcohol. According to Chinese Medicine an excessive consumption of wine will not only affect your liver but also your eyes as the functioning of your liver and your eyes are interconnected.
It is important to follow a diet that includes a lot of carotenoids, especially lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important for your eye vision. A carotenoid diet includes greens, such as: broccoli, spinach, kale, tomatoes, corn, apricots and mangos.
Zeaxanthin is found in fruits, yellow and orange vegetables such as onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe melon, etc.
Other good dietary products that improve the function of the eye are berries, as for example blueberries, apricots, kiwis, grapefruit, peaches, apples and green tea.
A diet high in selenium and vitamin E must include wheat germ, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, avocado, walnuts, almonds, etc. Always remember including good fats from oily fish. If you prefer vegetable oil, flaxseed oil is also a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Also use a good quality olive oil to dress your salads.
Make smoothies with lots of vegetables. You can mix every vegetable that ‘catch your eye’ with all kinds of good “pasture” as wheat grass, barley grass, seaweed, along with your favourite fruits. Use your imagination, make a delicious and healthy drink.
Do not forget taking whole grain products, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and whole wheat pasta.

Supplements

  • Be sure to daily provide your organism with a good multivitamin / mineral such as Pure Omnimin, Spektro2, Mivitotal + etc
  • It is also good to take a supplement of 1 gram of vitamin C daily. Vitamin C helps collagen production, and is particularly good to strengthen the capillaries in the eyes. The eyes contain the second highest concentration of vitamin C that is produced by the adrenal glands in our bodies. Our eye lens has a concentration of Vitamin C that is 30-50 times higher than that found in circulating blood.
    Also get good oils for your body as, for example, Omni -Krill, which also contains CardiOmega astaxanthin, a fish oil in the form of ester + Epa Gla – containing omega 3/6/7/9.
  • If you suffer from dry eyes, take Omega 7 strong, a capsule containing good fish oil. Omega 7 is known for its good properties for our mucous membranes.
  • Blueberries are available in several supplements such as: Blueberry, Lutein, Bio- Vision, etc. Blueberries are known for their good effects on vision.
  • Strong antioxidants such as Quercetin and other bioflavonoids, protect our eyes from sunlight damage and help counteract the damage done by free radicals.
  • Amino acid cysteine is important for the retina. It increases the production of glutathione.
  • Lutein, which is found in products well balanced dosage of lutein capsules, protects against macular degeneration and helps fight free radicals.
  • Carnosine, consisting of two amino acids, is a potent antioxidant that helps counteract the damage caused by an excess of light.
  • Acetyl L – carnitine is an amino acid that helps maintain healthy cell metabolism.
  • Lycopene can be found in tomato paste, is very important for the function of the retina. It is also a potent antioxidant.
  • Gingko Biloba, used by many people to keep their memory in ‘good shape’, also increases the blood circulation in the retina and therefore may delay the weakening of the lens acting as a powerful antioxidant.

Little Tips

  • Note that fluorescent light bulbs are known to drain vitamin A from our eyes. Fluorescent lights stress the brain, because they flash at a rate that is not seen but recorded by our brain.
  • If you are diabetic you should know that one of the first long-term complications can affect your eyes, small fine blood vessels in the retina can get damaged and then a slight bleeding occurs, this is called diabetic retinopathy. It is really important that you keep stuck to your diabetic diet.
  • Ocular infection known as pinkeye can be caused by many factors, such as bacteria, viruses, exposure to sunlight, allergies etc. It usually goes away in a week. You can use chamomile compresses on the eyelids to soothe and improve this condition. In case of doubt, pay a visit to your doctor.
  • Take care of your eyes, be nice to them. Always use good lighting while working or reading.
  • Have your eyes examined regularly to ensure that the glasses you are using are the right ones for them.
  • Although sunlight is wonderful, be careful, remember to use good quality sunglasses that offer good protection from ultraviolet solar radiation.
  • When the sun shines in a cloudless sky, it might be a good idea to wear a hat to protect your eyes. Also remember that is better to stay in the shade when the sun is at its height.
  • If you smoke reduce your smoking or, even better, quit it. Be sure to take enough vitamin C.
  • If you work hard at the computer or watch much TV, it is normal to feel eyestrain. Tears eye drops (with Euphrasia) can offer relieve to your eyes. Massaging the nose bridge can also be soothing to your eyes.
  • “Internal exercises” is a book written by Dr. Stephen T. Chang. This book contains many eye exercises that can be of great help in your everyday life. They help heal eye bags and dark circles which are often caused by water retention in the body or by poor metabolism.
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