Have you ever stopped to really think about your eyes? To think about how lost you’d be if they weren’t doing their job properly? We all – certainly, myself included – give so much attention to our hips, heart, brain, arms (again, thanks to Michelle Obama and her arms of grandeur), lungs, and abs. Heaven knows we think about Swine Flu 24-7. Yet, one of our most valuable resources is our vision – courtesy of our often-neglected eyes. If you think about it in terms of a relationship…. we woefully take them for granted!
A few weeks ago my husband told me about a man we once went to church with. He was blinded in an accident at work and his entire life has been turned upside down. This man was once so full of life that the air crackled when he walked into a room but now, apparently, what he once enjoyed so much (his life) is something he’d rather not even have.
Heart breaking and, quite literally, eye-opening.
Where would any of us be if we weren’t able to see? I allowed my mind to go there briefly before I became so frightened that I shook the thoughts away. My first thoughts were, “I couldn’t see my family and cats… I couldn’t cook anymore…. I couldn’t see birds, or any animals, ever again….. and, for crying out loud, who’d clean the bathrooms?!?!” Literally. In that order.
Enough “couldn’ts!” Let’s all make a pact to pay more attention to our eyes, to protect and care for them in every way possible. The thought of being without vision is more frightening than swine flu, arm jiggle, crow’s feet, or even zombie clowns.
Protect Your Vision With the Right Foods
Spinach is wonderful for your eyesight. Try adding spinach leaves to your sandwiches and salads, they add a lot of flavor and your eyes love the vitamin A. Creamed spinach and spinach artichoke dip are wonderful ways to sneak spinach past picky eaters.
Vitamin A improves and prevents night blindness AND protects your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss.
Your eyes also love kale. One-half cup of kale delivers at least 12 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids found in dark leafy greens that help combat cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. If kale doesn’t exactly make you weak in the knees, try cutting it up in stir frys. Your taste buds won’t realize it’s there, but your eyes will.
Pamper Your Eyes with Water
YOU: The Owner’s Manual, by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. points out the importance of drinking water. As the doctors point out, our tear ducts keep our eyes lubricated. Dry eyes result from an inadequate amount of moisture coming from these ducts. Dry eyes are a lot more common than many people realize and, often, our eyes are dryer than we realize.
Dry eyes account for the fact that we can’t see as well as usual in the morning – our eyes have dried out overnight.
Drinking plenty of water during the day will help keep your eyes moist.
Rest Your Tired Eyes
Our eyes are in constant motion and activity every second of the day. You know how your feet hurt after you’ve been on them for 4-5 hours? They’re tired and are, literally, aching for rest. The eyes work far longer than 4-5 hours! They, too, need and crave adequate rest. Plenty of sleep will recharge and revitalize your eyes and are the only thing that tired eyes really want. Your eyes need at least 5 hours of sleep each night.
Take Breaks From Your Computer Screen During the Day
Five days a week, I sit in front of a computer screen, a mug of coffee, and a sleeping cat. We’re usually here for at least 6 hours, sometimes 7. I give my eyes a 5 minute break every hour. If I get completely wrapped up in what I’m doing and neglect the mini-break, my eyes will often ache at the end of the day. Experts say that it’s the light energy that comes from the screen.
Use Common Sense With Eye Protection
Let me go on record as saying that I wouldn’t recommend tanning beds (dangerous environment for your skin), but if you do go, exercise caution. If I were a Tanning Bed Diva, I’d insist on taking my own eye goggles. Wearing them is a MUST (just as you should wear sunglasses in the daytime) but I’ve heard of people getting infections from the goggles at tanning beds. Yes, they clean them – but do you KNOW for certain that they clean them well? I’d take my own… okay, I wouldn’t go… but if I did, I’d take my own.
You should also wear protective eyewear on the job and while doing yard work. While you may think, “Nothing’s going to fly up into my eye,” or “Nothing’s going to spray into my eyes” – keep this in mind: Do you know how many people said the same words, right as they enjoyed their last views of the world?
Please protect your vision, you truly can’t afford to lose it. Ladies, just think of those bathrooms. And, men, just think of those ladies!