The human eye plays a pivotal role in our body. In fact, nearly 80% of all human impressions are internalized via our ability to see. Our vision connects us to the world around us and plays a pivotal role in our survival, alerting us to potential opportunities and dangers. Not surprisingly, our eyes have evolved to become one of the most intricate and complex organs in our body. In fact, the eyes are the fastest-moving muscle in the body and are made up of over 2 million working parts! Because our eyes play such a critical role in our well-being, it is extremely important to do everything we can to protect them. Making healthy vision a priority helps fight conditions such as blindness, vision loss, macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. So, what can we do to protect our eyes and our vision, naturally? Check out the 5 tips below for the best integrative ways to maintain and protect your eye health.

1. Eat Healthy Food
This one should come as no surprise – the food we put in our bodies plays a vital role in our health. You want to be sure you’re eating foods with plenty of nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc, Vitamins A, C, & E. Here are some of the foods that contain these vision-enhancing nutrients:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which can help to reduce the symptoms of dry eye, can be found in several natural food sources including salmon, mackerel, tuna, walnuts, chia seeds and tofu.

Zinc, which also helps the body properly transport vitamin A in our blood, helps to protect against macular degeneration. Furthermore, Zinc is known to support brain and immune system functions and can be found naturally in many of the foods we eat. Certain seafood such as oysters and lobster, as well as meats like beef and pork are good sources. Other foods containing zinc include eggs, yogurt, baked beans, and cashews.

Vitamin A, which is comprised of a group of antioxidant compounds, plays a crucial role in keep our eyes healthy and functioning properly. Vitamin A is known to protect the surface of the eye against bacteria and disease, decrease the risk of vision loss and macular degeneration, and help us to see better in low lighting. There are two types of Vitamin A that can be found in food sources. Retinol, or Vitamin A derived from animals, can be found in foods such as beef, liver, whole milk, and cheese. Plant-based Vitamin A, or beta-carotene, can be found in many fresh fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens such as kale and spinach, peppers, and apricots.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that can be found in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C plays a vital role in promoting eye health, with scientific evidence supporting its ability to lower the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Foods that contain high levels of Vitamin C include citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and kiwis. It can also be found in some vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.

Vitamin E is also important as it provides protection against the breakdown of healthy eye tissue over time. When this happens, the risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration increases. Foods that contain high amounts of Vitamin E include vegetable oils (wheat germ oil), nuts (especially almonds), seeds, green leafy vegetables, and shrimp.

2. Schedule Regular Eye Exams
Scheduling a yearly eye exam is one of the best things you can do for your overall health! Besides addressing the obvious (such as a change in vision), an eye exam can often lead to the diagnosis of more serious conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer. What’s more, an eye exam will allow the doctor to check for eye conditions that may go unnoticed by the patient. Often patients diagnosed with glaucoma only become aware of their condition after having already suffered permanent vision loss. Because there are no symptoms early on, it can easily go undetected without a routine eye exam. It is also important for young children to have routine eye exams, as their vision more strongly influences their ability to learn and comprehend the world around them.

3. Use Natural Eye Care Products
Being cautious about what you are putting in your eyes is an important consideration for sustaining healthy vision. Many eye drops, especially those formulated for conditions such as eye redness or allergies, can contain harsh chemicals known as vasoconstrictors. Using these harsh chemicals too often can lead to chronic eye redness that worsens with continued use. While some conventional eye drops are made using chemicals that control or suppress the symptoms and the body’s natural defense, “natural products support and trigger the body’s immune and self-regulating mechanisms to heal. ” For this reason, consider using natural, homeopathic eye drops to combat whatever symptoms you may be dealing with. Companies such as The Relief Products™ offer a full line of eye care products that are made with 100% natural active ingredients, offering no known side effects or interactions with other medications. The Relief Products™ eye care line offers natural support for common eye conditions such as allergies, blepharitis, dry eyes, eye strain, pink eye, eye redness, styes, and more. They also offer an age-related eye care line that addresses issues such as macular degeneration, corneal health, eye floaters, eyelid twitching, and blurry vision. While all The Relief Products™ are safe for daily use, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or physician before using any OTC products. These types of safe and natural options can make a great addition to your integrated eye care regimen.

4. Use Common Sense Eye Protection
While our eyelashes do a great job at protecting our eyes from small particles of dust and debris, there are times where taking more precaution is necessary. It is always a good idea to use a pair of safety glasses when working with any hazardous materials or mechanical equipment that can malfunction. Similarly, it is always smart to protect your eyes with sunglasses when going outside. UV rays from the sun can damage your eyes, leading to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration. Keep your eyes healthier for longer by protecting them from the sun’s harmful rays.

5. Reduce Screen Time
In today’s digital world, we spend more time than ever in front of electronic screens. As a result, eye strain has become an increasingly common diagnosis. In fact, 65% of all Americans report experiencing digital eye strain symptoms, while up to 90% of workers who use a computer or digital device to perform their jobs experience these symptoms. Digital screens also expose our eyes to harmful ‘blue light.’ Blue light refers to a specific range of light in the light spectrum that contains the highest levels of energy. Due to the high energy of blue light, it is easily able to reach the retina of our eye, which may increase the chance for macular degeneration, as light can damage the cells of the retina. For this reason, it is important to limit your exposure to blue light, whether it is limiting screen time or using products such as computer glasses. If you work on digital devices as a part of your job, be sure to implement the 20-20-20 rule. This rule states that after 20 minutes of working on a digital screen, you should look away from the screen for 20 seconds at an object that is at least 20 feet away from you. Other ways to reduce the effects of digital screens on our eyes include changing the display settings, reducing screen glare, increasing font size, and using eye drops that prevent eye strain symptoms.


[1] Banks, Brian. “Natural EyeCare: A New Category In Patient Care.” Natural Ophthalmics, Inc.