Your eyes are one of the most vital organs in your body and also one of the most delicate ones. Sadly, many people do not realize that their eyesight isn’t as good as it should be, so they simply ignore it and hope that nothing bad will happen to them. Unfortunately, some serious eye problems can develop if you don’t take proper care of your eyes, and missing the early warning signs could mean a loss of vision or even complete blindness later on in life. Here are 10 ways to improve your eyesight naturally so that you can keep your eyes healthy for many years to come.
1) Get Outside
The best thing you can do for your eyes is to get some sunlight. But not just any sunlight—it’s important to give your pupils a good dose of ultraviolet light, too. That’s because UVB rays promote vitamin D production in our bodies, which supports eye health. Avoiding sunlight can cause vitamin D deficiency, which over time could lead to vision loss and blindness. So make sure you spend at least 15 minutes outside each day without sunglasses. If that sounds like a lot, try going outside first thing in the morning or later in the evening when it’s less bright out.
2) Cut Out Caffeine
Caffeine can give you a jolt of energy, but it also reduces your ability to sleep. This makes for an exhausting workday. If you’re trying to improve your eyesight naturally, cutting back on caffeine is an easy step you can take. Research suggests that 300 mg of caffeine—about two cups of coffee—is enough to affect your sleep cycle negatively, so drink in moderation if you want better eyesight and better health overall. Also, make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water! (Here are some other things you should never put in your coffee.)
You might experience mild withdrawal symptoms from caffeine when you first stop consuming it—but these side effects will fade as your body adjusts. Try replacing caffeinated beverages with decaf alternatives or herbal teas instead. And be sure to get regular exercise, which has been shown to improve eyesight naturally through a variety of mechanisms. One study linked regular aerobic exercise with improved visual acuity among older people. Plus, staying active has many other well-known benefits!
3) Eat Your Greens
Everyone knows you should eat your greens, but not many people know why. Most leafy greens contain large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are phytochemicals that protect your eyes from harmful light rays. Lutein and zeaxanthin also help protect against macular degeneration—the leading cause of blindness in older adults. Eat plenty of spinach, kale, collard greens, arugula, and Swiss chard to strengthen your vision naturally. You can also consider taking a lutein supplement. The recommended dosage is 10 milligrams per day for healthy adults; consult with your doctor before beginning any supplementation regimen. Add green vegetables (broccoli, spinach, lettuce, and green beans) as much as possible to your daily food.
4) Practice Meditation
Meditation works! Studies show that it helps lower blood pressure, manage stress and anxiety, boost your immune system, and improve memory. The practice can also help you achieve a better night’s sleep. Find 20 minutes a day and set yourself up for success with some quality earbuds (like these from Sony), an eye pillow (Amazon has a ton of great options), and an excellent meditation app like Headspace. Meditation is one of those things that once you start doing it regularly, you’ll never want to stop. If you find it difficult to begin, try sitting quietly for 5 minutes in a comfortable position with your eyes closed and focus on your breathing. Gradually increase how long you sit each day until you reach 20 minutes per session.
5) Try Home Remedies
You don’t need to suffer from poor eyesight—there are plenty of home remedies for improving eyesight. Avoiding these five common eye issues can help you keep your vision healthy: dry eyes, pink eye, glaucoma, floaters, and macular degeneration. You can avoid these issues with a few simple lifestyle changes. For example, eating foods rich in antioxidants (like blueberries) and wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays may help reduce your risk of macular degeneration by 50 percent. Also, be sure to wear protective eyewear in dim light, as it can decrease glare on your glasses or computer screen and cause eye strain later on. And if you spend long hours staring at a computer screen, consider taking frequent breaks to give your eyes a rest. To keep your eyes hydrated and get rid of redness, try using honey mixed with lemon juice twice a day. The combination is gentle enough to use every day without irritating your eyes.
6) Do Eye Exercises
The number one thing you can do to improve your eyesight is preventative maintenance. Preventative eye exercises are a great way to ward off or alleviate those pesky computer vision syndrome symptoms you might be experiencing. Exercises such as looking from side to side, looking up and down, or rolling your eyes in a circle can all help to maintain good vision. You should also try taking breaks every hour or so when working on a computer; these breaks will give your eyes a chance to rest and focus on something else for a while. In addition, don’t forget about wearing glasses if you need them—even if they’re just for fashion! Wearing glasses helps keep dust and other particles out of your eyes, which keeps them healthy.
7) Practice Yoga
Yoga is a great way to get in shape, calm your mind, and learn how to relax. If you’re not comfortable practicing in front of others, do it at home with a DVD or instructional video for guidance. Yoga is also one of those activities that can be done by people with different levels of fitness—from beginners to advanced practitioners—making it accessible for people at any point in their workout journey.
8) Clean Up Your Diet
Eating an unhealthy diet is one of the main reasons your eyesight could deteriorate over time. Make sure you’re getting a healthy amount of vitamins and nutrients through both food and supplements. We’ll discuss some ways that you can achieve optimal nutrition in tomorrow’s post! (Don’t worry, we won’t make you wait!) If you aren’t already on a solid foundation of good nutrition, now is as good a time as any to start building it up. This will help prevent vision problems later on in life—and possibly improve your vision right away! Start with something simple like taking fish oil supplements or adding flaxseed oil to your diet. It might not seem like much, but it’s an easy way to improve your overall health. (And no, it doesn’t smell bad.)
9) Get Enough Sleep
It might seem like common sense, but getting enough sleep can have a major impact on your eyesight. While eight hours of sleep may be optimal for most people, individuals with less-than-perfect vision should ensure they get more rest to reduce eye strain and fatigue. A study published in Optometry and Vision Science showed that just one week of limited sleep led to reduced visual acuity and field of vision. Even worse, researchers found that it took two weeks of normal sleep before participants’ eyesight returned to normal. Getting enough shut-eye is especially important if you wear contact lenses or glasses—both of which put extra stress on your eyes. If you’re concerned about your ability to see clearly while wearing corrective lenses, consider scheduling an appointment with an optometrist who can determine whether you need a stronger prescription or different frames.
10) Know the Warning Signs of Eyestrain
If you find yourself squinting and struggling to see clearly when reading or working on a computer, you’re likely suffering from mild cases of eyestrain. Eyestrain is a symptom of something else—in most cases, it can be traced back to lifestyle habits and conditions that damage your eyes over time. By knowing what causes eyestrain, you can start making changes in your life today to prevent future problems. For example, if you spend long hours staring at a screen without taking breaks for eye exercises or eye health supplements like green tea extract capsules, then it’s possible that eye strain could lead to more serious vision problems down the road.