Protecting your eyesight as you age involves many of the same commonsense strategies that will help you prevent chronic disease of all kinds. This includes:
Care for your cardiovascular system. High blood pressure can cause damage to the miniscule blood vessels on your retina, obstructing free blood flow.
One of the primary ways to maintain optimal blood pressure is to avoid fructose. Research by Dr. Richard Johnson, chief of the division of kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Colorado, shows that consuming 74 grams or more per day of fructose (equal to 2.5 sugary drinks) increases your risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg by 77 percent!
- Normalize your blood sugar. Excessive sugar in your blood can pull fluid from the lens of your eye, affecting your ability to focus. And, it can damage the blood vessels in your retina, also obstructing blood flow. To keep your blood sugar in a healthy range, follow my comprehensive nutrition guidelines, exercise and avoid excess sugar, especially fructose. Eat plenty of fresh dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale. Studies have shown that a diet rich in dark leafy greens helps support eye health, and those with the highest consumption of carotenoid-rich vegetables, especially ones rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, had increased vision health.
- Get plenty of healthy animal-based omega-3 fat. A study published in the August 2001 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology found that consuming animal-based omega-3 fatty acids was protective of your healthy vision. Unfortunately, due to widespread pollution and fish farming, fish is no longer an ideal source for omega-3 fats unless you can verify its purity. My favorite alternative is krill oil.
- Avoid trans fats. A diet high in trans fat appears to contribute to muscular degeneration by interfering with omega-3 fats in your body. Trans fat is found in many processed foods and baked goods, including margarine, shortening, fried foods like French fries, fried chicken and doughnuts, cookies, pastries and crackers.
- Avoid aspartame. Vision problems are one of the many potential acute symptoms of aspartame poisoning.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases free radical production throughout your body, and puts you at risk for less-than-optimal health in many ways, including the risk of decreased vision.
Relaxing your mind and your eyes also crucial to optimal vision
Interestingly, your mind may have a significant impact on how well you can see. Research by Harvard University psychologist Ellen Langer and colleagues found that when people were primed to believe they had excellent eyesight, their vision improved. Likewise, when participants were told their eyesight would improve with practice, it did. The same occurred when people adopted a “try and you will succeed” mindset — they tried, and their vision successfully improved.
Your thoughts can influence how well you see in part because your mind is the source of much of the stress from outside sources brought to bear upon your eyes.
Every thought of effort in your mind, of whatever sort, transmits a motor impulse to your eye, and every such impulse causes a deviation from the normal in the shape of your eyeball and lessens your foveal sensitivity.
Therefore, if you want to have ideal vision you must minimize stress in your mind. Mental strain of any kind always produces conscious or unconscious eyestrain and if the strain takes the form of an effort to see, an error of refraction is always produced. So while you cannot “make” yourself see, by learning to control your thoughts you can accomplish that end indirectly.
How relaxation helps you see
When a disturbing thought is replaced by one that relaxes, your squint disappears, the double vision and the errors of refraction are corrected and this is as true of abnormalities of long standing as of those produced voluntarily. In a fraction of a second the highest degrees of refractive error may be corrected, a squint may disappear, or the blindness of amblyopia may be relieved. If the relaxation is only momentary, the correction is momentary. When it becomes permanent, the correction is permanent.
This relaxation cannot, however, be obtained by any sort of effort. It is fundamental that you understand this; for so long as you think, consciously or unconsciously, that relief from strain may be obtained by another strain your improvement will be delayed.
That is why relaxing your eyes and addressing the stressors that contribute to the stress are the keys to help you recover your vision. You can read more about this system to restore your vision naturally, which I personally used successfully to regain my own vision without the use of glasses or contacts, here.
The program noted above takes time and dedication, but you can combine it with the Eyeport System — a patented, clinically proven, and FDA — cleared vision training system, which helps improve your vision fitness and relieve your visual stress in a far shorter time, about 10 minutes a day. Now, this is not a quick fix if you have a serious visual dysfunction, but it is a pretty amazing solution for relieving daily eye stress. Remember, though, you should always check with your vision specialist prior to any vision therapy.
Temporary conditions may contribute to the strain to see that result in poor eyesight, but its foundation lies in wrong habits of thought.
Very seldom is the impairment or destruction of vision due to any fault in the construction of your eye. Of two equally good pairs of eyes, one will retain perfect sight to the end of life, and the other will lose it in kindergarten simply because one looks at things without effort and the other does not.
So in addition to improving the nutrients and antioxidants your central nervous system and eye receive by focusing on high-quality nutrition, as discussed above, you can also support eyesight by optimizing blood flow through relaxation and controlling your thoughts. Mental strain may produce many different kinds of eyestrain, but there is only one solution for all of them, namely, relaxation.