5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Eye Health Today

improve eye health

Who isn’t eating kale and cauliflower (ahem, the new kale) while slugging fresh-pressed juices in between yoga class these days? You, too? We kid, but health and wellbeing are hot topics nowadays ‒ and for good reason. Taking care of yourself will not only make you look great, but you’ll feel even better. That said, there’s one thing too many of us overlook: eye health.

Not many people realize that with a few daily tips and tricks you can drastically improve your eye health. Sure, it’s not quite as instantaneously gratifying as dropping ten pounds; but taking care of your eyes now will have some serious long-term benefits. Keep reading for some easy-peasy ways to improve your eye health ‒ no cardio, Pilates class, or fad diets required.

Eat eye-healthy

Giving your eyes the proper nutrients they require to keep vision in tip-top shape is something you can do in about 10 seconds. Yep, it only requires a matter of seconds. How is this possible? You’ve just gotta swallow a vitamin.

Our eyes need things like Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, zinc, and lutein to keep them strong and healthy. Luckily, you can get all of these things in a single multivitamin or supplement. In fact, you can even buy ones that are made for eye health specifically.

While we’re on the subject of food, you can also include foods in your diet that are naturally rich in these nutrients. Here’s a quick list of some yummy options that work wonders for eye health:

  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Egg yolks
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Blueberries
  • Coldwater fish, like salmon and cod

Give ‘em a rest

Most of us are pretty much on screen overload these days. Between smart phones, computers, and televisions, we’re logging mega hours behind screens. Unfortunately, there’s a definite downside to all this for our eyes. Without even realizing it, uninterrupted screen time can cause eye fatigue, strain, and dry eyes.

To combat the side effects, remember to give your eyes a rest, especially if you’re working an eight-hour day behind a computer. The best thing you can do is simply lay down, close your eyes, and chill out. To maximize relaxation, thrown on a cool eye compress or even a slice of cucumber over each eye.

If that’s not practical, remember to simply look away from your screen at least once every hour for about 10 minutes. This break gives your eyes a chance to refresh themselves. Bonus: take those 10 minutes to go for a quick walk around the office or neighborhood ‒ your whole mind and body will be refreshed!

Do daily exercises

We promised up front that when it comes to eye health, sweaty cardio isn’t involved, but we didn’t say exercise was completely off the table. When it comes to eye exercises, you can do them just about anywhere ‒ even in your highest heels. Here are a few quick and easy exercises to try out:

  • Roll your eyes. The trick here is to go slowly, otherwise you might make yourself dizzy. Do about 10 circles clockwise, then switch and do 10 more counterclockwise.
  • With clean hands, rub your palms together to heat them up a bit. Then gently press them against your closed eyelids for about 5-10 seconds. This practice is called Palming. It’s thought to help relax the optic nerve, which can carry stress and become strained when eyes are fatigued. When palming, you should not place any pressure on your eye socket ‒ you’re just laying your heated hands over the eyes.
  • Practice focusing near and far by holding a pen at arm’s length. Move it towards you, (about six inches from your nose) then back away from you. This forces your eye to refocus between near and far. Repeat this about 10 times.

Blink…on purpose

Like we said, all that screen time can be really wearing on our eyes. One issue is that we don’t naturally blink as often as we should when staring at a screen. This can lead to dry eyes and fatigue. To combat this, force yourself to blink every 3-4 seconds for a minute or two. This will instantly refresh and revive your eyes.

Protect ‘em when outdoors

We know we say this all the time, but the advice is too good to ignore. Throwing on a pair of sunglasses before you head outside is one of the best things you can do for your eyes year-round! On especially sunny days, consider throwing on a hat for extra good measure. The brim will provide soothing shade to protect from UV rays and squinting, so your eyes stay healthy and your skin stays wrinkle-free!

Why You Should Consider Hard Contact Lenses

benefits of hard contacts

Hard contact lenses (also called gas permeable lenses) seem to have gotten somewhat of a bad rap over the years, replaced by many contact wearers with the ever-comfortable soft contact lenses. Don’t get us wrong – there’s a lot to love about the watery, silicone smooth fit and feel of soft lenses. But hard contacts shouldn’t be totally discounted, either! In fact, you might want to consider switching over…

Hard Contacts: The Early Years

The first contacts released to the public were hard lenses. These OG lenses were made from a plastic called poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA). Glass-wearers rejoiced over them ‘round the globe, but were soon admitting they weren’t exactly the most comfortable things to wear. That’s because the PMMA completely blocked oxygen from reaching the cornea, which often led to dry eyes. To be fair, eyes weren’t exactly starved for oxygen — these early hard lenses worked by shifting slightly each time the wearer blinked, which allowed oxygen to slip past them.  Soft lenses, on the other hand, are all about promoting moisture and maximum comfort thanks to their water-based technology and thin, bendable shape, all of which allow oxygen to flow easily to the eyeball.

The Benefits of Today’s Hard Contact Lenses

Luckily, hard lenses have come a long way from those of yesteryear. Case in point:

  1. They’re Breathable
    While they’re still rigid, stiff lenses, silicone is now incorporated into them, which allows oxygen to pass through to the eyeball. This is majorly good news for your eye health, and also leads to greater comfort for the wearer.
  2. They’re Durable
    While many folks bemoan the rigid feel and shape of hard contact lenses, they don’t realize that it actually has its benefits. A stiff lens is much more durable than its soft counterpart, which is notorious for ripping and tearing rather easily. This is one reason that soft lenses are made as dailies and monthlies — they’re not exactly made to last for the long haul. Hard lenses, on the other hand, can last for years with proper care and maintenance. And, yes, you read that right: years.
  3. They Can Improve Your Vision
    Something else a lot of people don’t realize is that hard contact lenses can actually improve vision. Their rigid form means they won’t bend each time you blink, which prevents your eye from constantly having to refocus. What’s more, they won’t lose their shape over time. Holding to their unyielding, original design allows for more precise vision every time you wear them. For some, they can also help stop the progression of nearsightedness.
  4. They’re Ideal for Those with Astigmatism & Unusual Shaped Eyes
    Hard lenses are worth checking out for anyone, but especially if you have an unusual eye shape or astigmatism, which is an atypical curvature of the cornea. This is because they can be molded to fit your exact shape, no matter how abnormal it may be. When the custom fit lenses are worn, it’s like you have a perfect eye shape, resulting in optimal, clear vision.

Maintenance of Hard Contact Lenses

Caring for hard contact lenses isn’t necessarily difficult or much different than for soft lenses. They do require cleaners and drops designed specifically for hard lenses, though. These tend to be a bit more expensive; but remember, you’re caring for a pair of lenses that can last months if not years. Overall, you’ll likely end up spending significantly less over time.

It’s worth noting that gas permeable lenses require a certain period of adjustment when new. The stiff lens is almost always noticeable in the eyeball, which can take some getting used to. After this adjustment period ends, most folks are perfectly happy with their lenses. However, if you stop wearing them for a few days, you will go through this again next time you pop them in. This typically isn’t enough to deter people from wearing hard contacts, but it may come as a surprise at first. If you’re aware of it upfront, it’s easier to get through that adjustment period and come to love your hard contacts!

We hope this piece has helped shed some light on hard lenses. They really have a ton of benefits most people aren’t aware of. The next time you’re in the market for a new pair of lenses, don’t be so quick to discount them!

Image courtesy of Niek Beck

Essential Vitamins for Eye Health

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While we love having the option to pop in our contacts and our vision instantly corrected, it can still be a little disheartening to go to a yearly exam and find out your vision has gotten poorer since your last check-up. This can be especially true as you age, when vision slowly begins to deteriorate for many people and they must change their contact prescription to something more suitable. That’s why we are always shouting the benefits of prevention. Your prescriptions lenses will always be there for you, but if there’s something you can do to keep your eyes young and healthy, well, why not?! Today we’ve got another tip to add to your arsenal for eye health: essential vitamins.

It’s common knowledge that daily vitamins are a great way to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to run in tip top shape. If you’ve ever perused a vitamin aisle, then you know there’s a vitamin for practically anything you want—including your eyes.

Taking the proper vitamins can actually slow down some eye disease progressions, such as age-related macular degeneration. In addition, essential vitamins for eye health aren’t just to help keep your vision fresh and young. They can also aid in other things like dry eyes, stave off cataracts, and overall eye health. Now, onto the list of vitamins…

Vitamin C

Vitamin C might be the MVP of the vitamin world. Anytime we get so much as a sniffle, people immediately begin telling us to start pumping ourselves with it. But studies have also suggested that taking this powerhouse over time can help prevent age-related vision loss and cataracts.

Vitamin E

You may have seen skincare items toting vitamin E. That’s because it helps cell regeneration, which is useful for aging skin, healing acne scars, and more. But it’s also been considered a great choice for the upkeep of health. Like Vitamin C, it’s thought to help in the fight against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Zinc

Zinc is a handy mineral you’ve likely heard of but may not know much about. It’s key for a healthy brain and immune system. But when it comes to eye health, it packs a punch, too. High levels of it are found in the macula, which is part of the retina. Zinc also helps vitamin A produce melanin, which is key to natural eye protection, (along with sunglasses).

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

This essential vitamin can be found in the likes of flaxseed oil and fish oil. They come in handy capsules like a regular vitamin. These supplements are helpful in relieving dry eyes, which are known for causing irritation, redness, and discomfort. Adding this vitamin alongside lubricating eye drops can give you noticeable relief.

You can find many of these vitamins in a multivitamin, making it convenient to get all of these in a single pill. You can also find them individually, too. Either way, if you want to start a new vitamin regime, check in with your doctor first. Vitamins have wonderful health benefits, but they can interact with some medications, so it’s wise to make sure they’re a good fit for you.

 

 

 

 

Can You Swim in Contacts?

Is it safe to swim while wearing your contact lenses? While you may be able to get away with taking a dip while sporting your contacts without experiencing any negative effects, the FDA recommends keeping your contact lenses clean from all water, including that which is found in pools, hot tubs, the ocean and even your bathtub.6813717249_c0f2f7f2da_z

Swimming in lenses can cause a number of problems, including the risk of bacteria and microbes building up on your contacts. This can lead to serious and painful infections in your eyes. Corneal abrasion is just one of the many ailments that can affect you as a result of wearing contacts while swimming. Acanthamoeba keratitis infection is a common infection that can also come as a result, and the side effects can last several weeks or months. In severe cases, Acanthamoeba keratitis can lead to damaged corneas and even permanent loss of vision.

Health concerns aside, you can easily lose your contact lens in the water. Finding a clear contact in a pool of water can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack- almost impossible. Even worse, if you lose your contact lens in a lake or the ocean, it’s gone forever. In the event that you do find your contact lens, it will be coated in chemicals or germs found in the water and you should not put it back in your eye.

Therefore, the answer is no, it is not safe to swim while wearing contact lenses.

GogglesHowever, if you absolutely insist on going swimming with them in, take these precautions to keep your eyes safe:
Wear goggles – This will keep the water out of your eyes and prevent nasty bacteria from getting under your contact lenses. You can also try using prescription goggles to eliminate the need for contacts in the first place.
Wear disposable contact lenses – If you wear contacts made for one-day wear, dispose of them after swimming. If you wear weekly or monthly contacts, wear an older pair and also dispose of them after swimming. For a popular choice, check out the Acuvue 1 Day Moist contact lenses.
Thoroughly clean your lenses after swimming – If you go swimming in contacts that you intend to wear again, be sure to take extra care when cleaning your lenses.
Never swim under water with your eyes open – This will put you at an extremely high risk of losing your lenses as well as making it easy for bacteria and chemicals to enter your eyes.
If you notice swelling, redness, or pain in your eyes after going swimming in your contact lenses, contact your eye doctor immediately.

When and How to Clean Your Contact Lens Case

Every contact wearer knows that in order to avoid nasty eye disorders or eye irritation, you must only wear your lenses for their suggested lifespan. After all, contact lenses not only accumulate dirt and debris as they’re worn, but they may also warp over time. However, did you know that just as your contacts can dirty with each wear, the case you keep your lenses in can also cause infections if it isn’t cleaned properly? 0001980_250

Since no one wants to wake up to an eye infection, we’ve put together a helpful guide to cleaning your contact case. You’ve already read the why, now here’s the when and how.

How often should I clean my contact lens case?

Contact lens cases should be cleaned as often as possible, preferably after every use.

If you are sitting there with the same case that came with your contacts (that you received last January), we’d advise you find the nearest trash can and throw that case out. Even though the case may seem like an insignificant piece of plastic, dirt and bacteria can build up over time within the case. It is generally recommended that contact lens cases be used for no longer than three months. After this period, a brand new, sterile case should be used.

4960522015_899e0ae02b_zHow do I clean my contact lens case?

While you may think running your case under lukewarm water to wash away used solution is doing the trick, it actually isn’t. Contact lens cases should only be cleaned with sterile contact lens solution. Here is a quick and dirty list of the most sanitary and effective way to clean your contact lens case:

1.       Wash your hands with soap and hot water. Make sure you rinse any perfumes, oils, or lotions from your hands.

2.       Remove contacts from case and place in an alternate, unused case.

3.        Use brand name solution to rinse the case out. You should not use water to rinse the case. While solution and water may seem very similar, sight threatening issues can arise from exposing your contact lenses to water, such as Acanthamoeba keratitis. Even water that is safe to drink is not 100% sterile and contains microorganisms. Furthermore, contact lenses absorb water, making them to grow and can cause irritation when worn.

4.       Use a clean lint-free towel to dry the inside of the case or keep the lids off and let the case air dry.

Now that you know when and how to clean your contact lens case, you should never have an excuse for having dirty contact lenses. Carrying an extra case and container of solution will make you ready for any occasion or situation that comes up. For some however, continually caring for and storing contacts may be a burden they aren’t willing to carry—for these people we suggest Acuvue daily disposable lenses.

Don’t forget to check out cute contact lens cases like this, available through Replace My Contacts.