"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again."
"The eyes are the window of the soul."
"The eyes can do a thousand things that the fingers can't."
"The face is the portrait of the mind; the eyes, its informers."
If our eyes do all that and more - lots more - we best take care of them! It really is not difficult to keep your eyes at their best with a few tactics and precautions. Some simple measures can do wonders for those doors into our soul. Read on to find out if you are taking care of those peeps the very best that you can.
How the Sun Can Hurt Your EyesI love sunlight and lots of it. But the glare it gives off and the rays that it delivers can be blinding - literally. Sunglasses are a necessity for me. And, they should be a requirement for you, too. Here's why you should reach for your sunglasses and for more reasons than cutting the glare:
Those sun rays can knock out some damage. Sunlight exposure, winter and summer and everything in between, damages the surface tissues of the eye as well as the retina and the lens. It can increase the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65.
Unwanted cells can be created. Too much unprotected sun exposure can contribute to cancer of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes and cause cancer in the back of the eye as well.
Sunlight is relentless. Those pretty days in the sun contain rays that can penetrate. Those rays can burn the surface of the eye, causing a painful condition called photokeratitis and amplify signs of aging around the eyes as well.
Without protection, clouds will form. Over time, unprotected exposure can contribute to cataracts, a film over the eye that make you nearly blind and that must be surgically removed.
Finding the Right Pair of Sunglasses to Protect Your EyesDon't just reach for any pair of sunglasses as not all sunglasses are the same. In fact, some can even cause more harm than good. Sunglasses that protect your eyes well are not necessarily the most expensive either. Don't forget the children too. Their eyes are vulnerable to damages of the sun as well. Here are three tips for finding sunglasses that will actually protect your eyes from all the harm:
1. Knock it off with the knock-offs. Keep walking past those stands with the fake designer labels. You do not know the quality of the lenses. The darkness of the lens in many pairs of no brand sunglasses that do not have proper coatings causes your eyes to dilate and allow more damaging radiation hit your retina than if you were wearing no glasses at all.
2. Read the labels. No, not the designer labels. Look for UV labels and tags indicating the sunglasses block all UV radiation (UVB and UVA rays) up to 400 nanometers. That is equivalent to blocking 100 percent of UV rays. Note that UV protection is not related to how dark the lens is. Polarized lenses do not increase UV protection either. If you wear prescription glasses, a protective UV coating can be applied to your lenses.
3. Bigger is better. Larger sunglasses offer more coverage. Sunglasses should cover the sides of your eyes to prevent stray rays from entering. Close-fitting glasses with wide lenses are a good choice as well.
Other Healthy Eye TipsBesides wearing the right sunglasses to best protect your eyes, here are a few other actions to take to protect those peeps:
Rest every 20. Looking at those screens often? Take 20 seconds every 20 minutes and look 20 feet away. This practice breaks up eye strain and helps decrease eye dryness by encouraging blinking.
Go towards the light. Light up your work area. Insufficient light will strain your eyes and make them tire easily, causing your eyes to age faster. No one wants that!
No sharing. All eye products should be hands off to others. This includes eye drops, eye make-up and towels. Eye infections are spread very easily through these means.
Eye exams aren't just for glasses. Many diseases have no symptoms and can affect the eye suddenly and can have dire consequences if not caught in time. Regular eye exams are important for those over 40 to prevent many age-related ocular conditions from macular degeneration to glaucoma. Children should be screened from their pediatrician but should see an opthamologist as well at some point. Here is more specific information on how often and what age to have an eye exam.
During your exam, be extra thorough on your medical history. Many connections between illnesses in the body and the eye exist like high blood pressure and diabetes. Discuss your sports activities as well to ensure proper eye protection.
Protect with goggles. Operating machinery? Wear the goggles. Debris flying about hitting your eye can do serious damage and serious pain. The same goes for proper protection when playing sports. Those flying balls or other parts of the game can do a lot of harm.
Practice contact lens cleanliness. Besides following lens care that your doctor gave you, take the extra step to clean your contact lens case frequently to avoid bacterial infections. If possible, replace it often and in between sanitize it and keep it in a dry place. I throw mine in the dishwasher once a week at least to keep bacteria infections away. Change the soaking solution daily as well.
Eat your colors. Those leafy greens and other whole foods likes the darker berries that have lutein are great choices for eyesight protection. Omega 3s in walnuts and some fish are helpful, too. Try incorporating gogi berries, commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve vision. Recent studies found that these small red berries are a rich source of zeaxanthin, a carotenoid helpful in protecting your vision.
eye: photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/liesforaliar/5167553781/">Claire Brownlow</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
sunglasses: photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/uomodiatlantide/458604820/">UomoDiAtlantide</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
eyechart: photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaleyeinstitute/7544604758/">National Eye Institute</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>