We’ve all heard that eyes are the windows to the soul, but can they also provide a peek into our health? This week, we’re talking all about eyes and what to do to keep them sparking.
Your Eyes Reveal A Lot About Your Health
Just by looking at your eyes, ophthalmologists can tell quite a bit about your overall health, from identifying risk factors for heart disease and diabetes to diagnosing certain mental health disorders.[i] And for those who have diabetes, experiencing blurry vision can be a warning sign that your blood sugar has spiked.[ii] Blurred vision can also be a sign of Lyme disease – something to watch out for in these summer months filled with outdoor activities.[iii]
Another eye symptom to beware of is clouded vision. This can be a red flag for cataracts, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. As we age, the proteins that make up the lens of our eyes can begin to clump together, forming cloudy areas that subsequently block our sight. Despite their prevalence, cataracts are very easily treatable via an outpatient procedure that’s considered one of the safest and quickest surgeries around. (It has a 95% success rate and a procedure time of only about 15 minutes.)[iv]
How to Take Care of Your Precious Peepers
With so many important roles to play, it’s no wonder many of us enjoy giving our eyes a little extra attention in our self-care and beauty routines. Here are some of our favorite healthy tips to keep your eyes bright and beautiful.
Studies[v] have shown that foods rich in nutrients like Vitamin A and C, Beta-carotene, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are good for eye function. Incorporating foods like kale, salmon, oysters, lobster, citrus fruit, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe into your diet regularly can help you get these nutrients and keep your eyes healthy.
Puffiness under the eyes is often due to a buildup of lymphatic fluid. You can naturally encourage lymphatic drainage and reduce puffiness by drinking plenty of water, sleeping on your back, and eating less salt. But for those times when you wake up belly-down, post-wine-and-pizza-night-out-with-the-ladies, placing cool cucumber slices over each eye really can help.[vi] A combination of the cool temperature and the veggie’s antioxidants help reduce irritation and swelling.
A common cause of eye irritation and infections is expired makeup and dirty brushes, which become breeding grounds for bacteria. Experts suggest keeping mascara and eyeliner no longer than three months.[vii] Makeup brushes need to be washed regularly, depending upon how frequently you use them; and if you currently have an eye infection, it’s best to skip the makeup altogether until it clears up. Even though studies reveal[viii] we women are known offenders when it comes to makeup hoarding, it’s time to let go of that half-empty tube in the bottom of your purse and invest in some fresh, clean cosmetics.
Many of us spend hours upon hours a day looking at screens, which can lead to eyestrain – where eyes feel sore, tired, dry, and irritated. You can find lots of helpful hints to reduce eyestrain here. Our favorite advice is to reduce screen time when possible; and when you are plugged in, abide by the 20/20/20 rule: for every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to rest your eyes.
Wearing sunglasses protects your eyes from the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation[ix] recommends wearing large frames, even on cloudy or overcast days, so go ahead and embrace your inner diva and rock those paparazzi-proof shades everyday!
What are your favorite eye health and beauty tips? Let us know in the comments below!