Retina is one of the most crucial parts of your eyes. It is a layer of tissue located at the backside of your eye. It senses light and relays the images to your brain. If the retina is damaged, it may result in several severe eye health conditions like blurry vision, diabetic retinopathy, nearsightedness or macular degeneration.
This important part of your vision can be damaged in several ways – poor diet, workplace hazard, digital eye strain etc. However, you can ensure good retinal health with the help of the 7 effective ways mentioned below.
- Ensure Workplace Safety
We often expose our eyes to risk in our workplaces without even realizing it. Did you know that a barcode scanner can also cause damage to your eyes and cause blurry vision? If your work involves scanning products with a barcode scanner, make conscious efforts to avoid looking at the laser. You can shield your eyes by standing a little off to one side. Construction sites are also a risky workplace for eye health. You may not even realize it but there are dust particles and debris floating in the air around you and that may be one of the reasons you may have blurry vision. If this is the case at your workplace, make it a point to wear safety goggles.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
A poor diet can lead to several health problems including poor eye health or even retinal disease. You need to include foods in your diet which are rich in vitamins A, C, E, minerals and antioxidants. All of these help promote good eye health.
- Many vitamins and minerals contain antioxidants which help fight off free radicals and aggressive molecules which harm normal cells including the cells in retina. Vitamin C, E and A in the form of selenium and beta-carotene act as antioxidants which boost retinal health. Citrus fruits, broccoli and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C. Fruits and vegetables which are orange, yellow and red in color are good sources of beta-carotene. Seafood, organ meats and meats are some of the richest sources of selenium. Sunflower seeds, green leafy vegetables and almonds contain ample amounts of vitamin E.
- The omega-3 fatty acids present in the retinal pigment epithelium cells can help prevent retinal cell damage from free radicals. Fatty cold water fish such as herring, salmon, tuna and sardines have abundant amount of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Even few plant foods provide ALA – a type of omega-3 fatty acid which the body can later convert into DHA and EPA. Flax seeds oil, flaxseed and walnuts are rich sources of ALA.
- Phytochemicals are powerful compounds which promote good health. It is proved that zeaxanthin and lutein are two such phytochemicals which help in preventing retinal diseases such as macular degeneration. Eggs and leafy green vegetables like romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, broccoli and green beans are among the best food sources for phytochemicals.
- Zinc benefits eye health and helps protects aging of the retinal tissue against damage caused by inflammation or light. Meat, oysters, poultry, eggs, liver, whole grains and legumes are good food sources of zinc. Your body can absorb zinc better from animal food sources as compared to plant food sources, according to some studies.
- Drink Plenty of Water
Your body needs plenty of water for a lot of its functions. Water is a prerequisite for maintaining good retinal health also. When your body is adequately hydrated, the tear glands are able to produce sufficient tears and the eyes are properly moisturized. Drinking plenty of water also helps in promoting blood flow to all parts of your body including your eyes.
- Go for Regular Eye Checkups
The importance of regular eye checkups cannot be stressed enough. Consult your eye doctor and find out the frequency of eye exams suitable for you. This is important because eye exams can help in early detection of any signs of underlying eye diseases. Early detection helps the doctor to provide appropriate treatment which can help prevent further complications.
- Quit Smoking
It has been proven that smoking can damage your eye health in multiple ways. One of the biggest threats from smoking is that it can contribute to development of macular degeneration. This is because it slows down blood circulation to the eye and the retina which damages the surrounding blood vessels. The eyes of non-smokers can also get affected by the cigarette smoke. The eyes of children are particularly vulnerable to retinal damage when exposed to cigarette smoke from smokers around them.
- Avoid Working Long Hours on Digital Screens
If you spend long hours working in front of computers, you are at a risk of developing Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS), which is also known as digital eye strain. The symptoms include irritated or dry eyes, double and blurry vision, headaches, shoulder and neck pain and general fatigue. The glare from the digital screens also puts your eye health at a risk. It’s recommended that you take regular breaks and look away from the screen for some time to relax your eyes.
- Relax Your Eyes
All of us lead a fast-paced life. We are constantly on the move and our bodies including our eyes are stressed. It is important to take breaks in between your hectic schedule and consciously relax your eyes as they are one of the hardest working organs. Close your eyes during your breaks gently massage them with the tips of your fingers and put a damp cotton swab over your eyes to relax them. A good night’s sleep is also important for maintaining good eye health.
Eye diseases can be prevented if we maintain our retinal health. Incorporate the above listed tips in your life and you can enjoy good eyesight for years to come.