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Your Liver in Spring

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Spring represents the season of the Wood element, the Liver and Gallbladder. TCM believes that eye diseases are related to deficiencies in the liver and kidney organs and result from an imbalance in the body. Spring is a great time to focus on eye health for the new season. There are many ways to improve eye health and prevent damage down the road. Finding the root of the problem and taking preventative measures is important when it comes to eye health. Below are simple ways for healthier, stronger vision.

Eat right. Certain foods are great for eye health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been known to improve eye health. Specifically, try adding in more spinach, kale or collard greens into your diet. Fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut are filled with omega-3 fatty acids, which are also great for eye health.

Give it a rest. If you’re like most working adults and spend hours on the computer every day, make sure you’re taking breaks from screen time to reduce eye strain.  The best strategy is the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look 20 feet away from your computer for 20 seconds.

Protect your eyes. Protect your eyes just like you would your skin when in the sun. Make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from damaging UV rays. Make sure to find sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection.

Quit smoking. There are many health reasons to quit smoking. A lot of people aren’t aware that smoking can expose your eyes to high levels of oxidative stress, which damages blood vessels. Smoking can increase your risk for many health problems that affect the eye. Contact a doctor to discuss ways to quit.

Know your history. Many eye problems can be genetic. See if family members have any eye conditions and make sure to get regular check ups if this is the case to help maintain healthy vision.

Take care of your contacts. It is easy to get into bad habits when it comes to contact wearing. Make sure to replace your contacts at the recommended time. Wash your hands before touching your contacts and take them out at night to give your eyes the rest and oxygen it needs.

Acupuncture. A number of studies found that acupuncture may have positive effects on people who suffer from chronic dry eye. One study showed that acupuncture could help reduce tear loss that those with dry eye usually experience. Common eye problems that acupuncture can treat include glaucoma, cataracts, chronic dry eyes, macular degeneration, optic neuritis, optic atrophy.

Improve Eye Health

Improving eye health can be as simple as switching up your diet and adding some healthier choices. Certain foods can have a great impact on not only overall health but vision as well. Below are some natural foods that are great to eat on a daily basis.

  • Carrots: Carrots are filled with beta-carotene, a vitamin A that is good for retina health and overall eye function.
  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, arugula and other similar greens are full of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that have been shown to lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. Bottom line, up your salad intake!
  • Fish: Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and trout are packed with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. DHA is known to help chronic dry eyes. Those with dry eye syndrome tend to have a lower level of DHA than average. Another option can be fish oil supplements with DHA.
  • Eggs: Eggs are overall a great health food, filled with calcium, iron, zinc and folate. Eggs also have lutein and vitamin A, which helps night blindness and dry eyes.
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