We recently had the honor of speaking with Los Angeles's top ophthalmologist Dr. Elise Brisco, of Hollywood Vision about the importance of eye health. So, if you were wondering what you can do to maintain youthful and healthy vision, look no further…we’ve got it for you right here!
Just as with any other part of the body, your eyes are directly affected by your diet, lifestyle, and stress levels. For example, when your immune system is run down, you are more likely to catch a cold, develop ulcers, and even get eye infections.
Why eye infections? Well, when your immune system isn’t strong enough to fight off the naturally occurring bacterial flora already present in and on your body, it’s easy for it to plug your tear ducts and develop an infection. Our eyes are more easily prone to this since they are an open, wet organ exposed to the environment. This is why taking an integrative approach to wellness and stress management is essential to eye health.
Why A Healthy Diet Is Key
Dr. Brisco recommends adding lutein to your diet. Lutein becomes meso-zeaxanthin which accumulates in the central retina where macular pigment is found. Macular pigment is what absorbs blue light, ultraviolet light, and light glare. Because we are constantly bombarded with blue light from all of our digital devices, macular degeneration, is now being diagnosed in younger patients more than ever before. Since we cannot completely remove ourselves from using devices, it is essential to help build our macular pigment with an optimal diet.
- take an antioxidant supplement with Lutein and Zeaxanthin
- add more green leafy vegetables to your diet. Juicing is an easy way to get your daily greens
- add a good Omega 3 supplement to your diet or Black Currant Seed Oil (gamma-linoleic acid) 1,500 EPA a day
- add a blue light filter on your devices and to your glasses
- beta carotene (carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato)
- extra Vitamin A and C for those who smoke as nicotine robs your body of this essential vitamins
- proper sleep is key
Dry eyes have become an epidemic of sorts, being the #1 diagnosis in optometry offices across the country. Dr. Brisco believes this is due in part to technology and stress. We find ourselves staring at computer and phones screens more than ever before. We are not looking at hard copies and turning pages, rather we are scrolling on a screen. Our eye-brain connection simply cannot compete with the rapidity of scrolling. For example, if we are trying to focus on an image and concentrating on it, our brain slows our blink wave down by 60%. Therefore the more we scroll the less we are blinking which means we aren’t spreading the oily tears that are found along each eyelid.
We need these oily tears to moisturize, nourish, cleanse, and protect our eyes. When we don’t blink as much as nature intended us to, those oily tears collect, thicken, and coagulate at the end of our lids trapping bacteria. This then leads to atrophy of the tear glands, which is something she says she is starting to see a lot of. Once the atrophy has set in, the tear glands cannot be restored.
- sterile eyewashes to cleanse pollutants and debris from eyes
- digital detoxing: take a break from screens whenever you can
- add a blue light filter to protect and soothe the eyes
Invest In High-Quality Sunglasses
Dr. Brisco recommends investing in good sunglasses rather than opting for the cheaper route that has less UV protection. With cheaper sunglasses, our brain is tricked into thinking it is dark and opens up the pupils more to allow light in, yet our eyes are not properly protected. She also mentioned that lenses do oxidize a little over time, so be sure to update on those sunglasses especially now that summer is around the corner! Don't forget to throw on that UV protectant hat!
We neglect our eyes until it is too late. Regular check-ups are a necessity for long term eye health. Remember that self-care is also very important when it comes to not only eye health but your health in general.
Eyes are one of the first things to become affected when we are sick, tired, and aging. Preventive care and healthy living will ensure that your eyes will stay vibrant and well for many years to come!