Wow, this is a massive topic, but I had a friend ask me questions about it and I thought it would make a good blog topic. I will try to break it down into three large categories:
- How to Eat for Better Vision
- How to Improve Vision
- How to Prevent Vision Loss
This is a great topic, because there are indeed quite a few things you can do to improve your eyesight: in large categories they are:
Improve your general health
One of the best ways to improve your eyesight is to improve your general health. When I started out in residency we saw many cataracts from patients who are heavy smokers. As the percentage of people smoking has declined, we don’t see as many early cataracts in someone’s 40s or 50s. Generally a healthy person can minimize the risk of cataracts as they get older by a few known factors to prevent cataract formation. They are:
- don’t smoke
- stay fit (obesity is a known risk factor for early cataract formation)
- take good care of your diabetes and hypertension
- wear sunglasses(ultraviolet light is also a known risk factor for early cataract formation)
- avoid radiation-this is obviously not very common but people who work in x-ray centers may be exposed to ionizing radiation that is a known risk factor for early cataract formation. There are other factors, but I will stop there.
- Vitamin A: this is the one everyone asks about because it is found in carrots and always associated with healthy eyes. In reality very few people in the United States have vitamin A deficiency. We recycle vitamin A in our bodies so it is not lost quickly and does not need to be replaced with high doses of vitamin A. That said, most multivitamins have vitamin A that will supply any extra needed outside of your diet. But most nutritionists and food scientists will agree that a natural healthy diet of leafy greens, root vegetables and seeds and nuts should provide you with plenty of vitamin A. There are lots of other benefits to eating this healthy diet also.
- Eat the rainbow! Vegetables such as peppers, carrots, radishes, berries, green leafy vegetables, all many antioxidants and nutrients that have been shown to improve eye health.
- Lutein: Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments that impart yellow or orange color to various common foods such as cantaloupe, pasta, corn, carrots, orange/yellow peppers, fish, salmon and eggs. Their role in eye health as well as general health are becoming more apparent with more studies into this nutrient. See references below for more details, but who doesn’t love these delicious summery foods?
Good eye care from your eye care professional
- Glaucoma check: most of the time there are no symptoms of open angle glaucoma until you have had significant vision loss. A simple quick painless check of the pressure as well as having the doctor look in the back of your eye can prevent serious and permanent vision loss. It is recommended that you get an eye exam every two years if you were under the age of 65 and have no associated ocular conditions. After the age of 65 it is recommended to get an item every year. https://www.aao.org/eye-
- Screening exams for children: Usually your pediatrician does a routine screening on newborns. They’re also recommendations to have screening exams in the first year, At some point between 12 and 36 months old, once from 3 to 5 years old and then every two years after that. https://www.aao.org/eye-
Exciting new technology on how to improve your vision
- I was very excited to hear about a study from the Ohio State University College of optometry where they found that bifocal contact lenses could reduce the progression of myopia in young children. In a three year study of 300 children, the amount of nearsightedness was reduced by 43% for those wearing a bifocal contact lens as compared to children who wore a single vision contact lens. Ask your eye care professional about this for your young children. There are two stories about it in the links below:
news/2020-08-11/%E2%80%8B%E2% 80%8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80% 8B%E2%80%8B%E2%80%8Byoung- nearsighted-kids-benefit- bifocal-contact-lenses-study- shows
news-and-events/news/myopia- close-look-efforts-turn-back- growing-problem
Easy ways to improve eyesight
- A couple things you could do to improve your vision that are easy and pleasant to do is to put warm compresses on your eyelids. There are several ways to go about this. One is to use a small sock filled with raw beans and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds (be very careful that it is not too hot) and place the warm beanbag on your eyelids as you relax. This will help stimulate the oil glands in your eyelids to soften and secrete oil that will coat and protect the surface of your eyes. There are many helpful components in the oil that can make the surface of your eyes healthier as well as cycle the oil through more quickly.
- Another easy and pleasant thing to do is eat fresh fish. The omega-3 oils have been shown time and time again to help the surface of your eyes as well as cardiac benefits. Not to mention it is delicious!
- Something that seems like a no-brainer but is commonly missed is to thoroughly clean the makeup off of your eyes, if you use eye make up. This will also help to stimulate the oil glands, clearing the pores and make your eyes healthier.
- A recent development is the approval of pilocarpine 1% (Vuity brand) for the improvement of near vision in those people from early 40s to early 60s. As is covered in another blog post, presbyopia affects us all at about age 45 give or take a couple years. Vuity eyedrops allow you to improve the near vision. The mechanism of action is that they make your pupils slightly smaller which increases your depth of field and therefore near vision. There are several unpleasant side effects but they seem to diminish after using the drops for a week or more. They are: a type of ache around the eyes after installation of the drop. This tends to go away but can last a half an hour or so. Also because your pupils are smaller you will have more difficulty seeing in a dim or dark room than you normally would. They potentially can blur your distance vision slightly although that’s not been a big part of it. The most concerning side effect is that people who are highly nearsighted and others with conditions that make them prone to retinal detachment can have this caused by the pilocarpine because it stimulates muscles that stretch the retina.
How to strengthen eyesight
- There are certain conditions in young children that can be improved by high exercises. Many optometrists practice “vision therapy“ that can be effective for people who have a condition called accommodative insufficiency. The general idea is that if you do exercises on focusing up close, it will strengthen the muscles that both focus your eyes as well as bring them together. This can potentially help with stereo vision (depth perception) as well as keeping your eyes straight. There is a condition called strabismus which is where the eyes do not align properly and cause either double vision, aesthetically unpleasing appearance of your eyes because one turns in or out.
How to improve your eyesight naturally
- As I’ve discussed above, my feeling is that healthy lifestyles are the best “How to improve eyesight naturally” healthy lifestyle (stay fit, no smoking, take care of your diabetes and hypertension) healthy nutrition (colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, all natural milk and cheese, grass fed beef and not too much. Fish such as salmon, halibut, and small fish such as krill can be best in the form of omega-3 fish oil. My favorite brand is Nordic Naturals which you can find most anywhere.
How to make your eyesight better
- One awesome way to make your eyesight better….hmmm, what is it we do at SharpeVision? Vision correction. This one of my very favorite ways to improve your eyesight. At SharpeVision MODERN LASIK we have been perfecting the art and science of vision correction surgery for 25 years. There are so many improvements, additional techniques, better technology than we had when I began. We have advanced PRK, Lasik, ICL, refractive lens exchange (RLE). The multifocal intraocular lens after RLE or cataract surgery allows you to see distance and near without any bifocals. It corrects your nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism and has improved dramatically over the past 10 years. The best way to figure out which of these procedures will best fit your needs is to call us at 425-451-2020 or to schedule an exam/evaluation online at sharpe–vision.com
How to improve your eye health and vision is a very large topic with many facets. There are many parts of the eye and each part can be protected and improved for the skin around your eyes and your eyelids it’s important/sunlight because there are skin cancers of the eyelid that are sometimes difficult to fix. Ocular plastic surgeons train specifically in the repair of eyelids. Your eyelashes also can have medical conditions that cause them to fall out. One never thinks about one’s eyelids until you lose them and stuff gets in your eyes all the time. They serve a vital function to protect the surface of your eyes. Dryness also is a huge issue especially as we age our eyes produce less tears which also is important for good crisp clear vision and comfort. The specialty of dryness is increasing dramatically also as America ages. Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed Medicare procedure with about 4,000,000+ procedures done every year in the United States. There are ways to lessen the likelihood of cataract, but in general if you live long enough you will get a cataract. Typically it’s in your 70s but can be much earlier or later. Even the back of your eye, the retina can be potentially protected and improved. Over the past 10 years medications have been developed that can slow or stop the progression of macular degeneration, the most common form of legal blindness in the United States.
For every part of our eyes there is a way to make them healthier or prevent loss of function. It’s much easier to take care of them in the first place to them to fix them afterward. So take care of your eyes!
Lutein and eye health
Nutrients for prevention of macular degeneration