A common saying I often hear is that prevention is better than cure. That is most certainly the case when it comes to our eyes, because it we don’t take care of them and allow problems to develop, we may not be able to reverse them.

Apart from paying attention to your diet so that you’re getting the right vitamins to keep your eyes strong, there are also some great eye exercises you can do on a daily basis to reduce eyestrain or help your tired eyes, especially if you’re sat in front of a TV screen or computer a lot. And these days, who isn’t?

These exercises, courtesy of EyeCare 2020, are designed to strengthen the eye muscles, improve focusing, and stimulate the vision centres of the brain. So here goes…

  •     Start by focusing on an object over 150 feet away. Focus on the object for at least ten seconds, and then gradually move your focus to a closer object less than 30 feet away. Again, focus for at least ten seconds, and then move your eyes back to the distant object. Repeat this process five times.
  •     Hold a pen or pencil in front of you at arm’s length, and slowly move it towards your face while following the pen with your eyes until you cannot focus on it any longer. Repeat this ten times.
  •     Find a blank wall and sit ten to fifteen feet away from it. Stare at the wall and pretend that you are writing by moving your eyes. Make sure you are keeping your head still. The bigger the letters you make, the bigger the effect will be as you move your eyes.
  •     Pretend you are standing in front of a large clock. Stare at the middle of the clock and then move your focus out to one of the hour marks without moving your head. Bring your vision back to the middle of the clock and repeat this for every hour mark.
  •     You can also practice rhythmic movements with your eyes. Focus on an object ten to fifteen feet away from you and sway your body while keeping your focus on the object. Do this for two to three minutes. You can also try closing one eye and slowly forming a figure eight with your head. Do this for two or three minutes and then switch eyes.

Now this might seem like a lot, but I tried it out myself and it takes about 5 minutes. By the end of it I actually felt like my vision was a little clearer and even my head felt lighter!

If you can combine these exercises along with incorporating the right kinds of food, you stand a great chance of keeping your eyes strong. On the note of diet, many of us have been taught that carrots are the way to go because of their high content of beta-carotene (the element that gives them their orange colour and is good for our eyes) but there are two other powerful yet less talked about anti-oxidants that we should also include, called Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Studies show that they reduce the risk of developing macular degeneration (wear and tear due to age) and cataracts. So where can you find them? Look at leafy greens, especially spinach and kale, and egg yolks (the yellow parts).

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome, then include as much fatty fish as you can, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovies and trout. They are rich in DHA, a fatty acid found in your retina, and by incorporating these you reduce your risk of developing a dry eye. Happy munching!