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The Bright Side –

Eyes Are a Doorway……

Not just into our soul, but also a window into our health. The retina (found at the back of the eyeball) is the only place in our bodies that we can observe the health of our blood vessels, an indicator of underlying cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure…

I went to the optometrist today. Happy to report, nothing too dramatic is going on with my eyes, other than the need for bifocals.

When we are young, for most, the lens of our eyes can bend which allows light to focus onto the retina. This allows us to see objects both near and far. As we age, this ability decreases and typically we begin to need to hold things farther away to focus them. The muscles that control our pupils, which widen and constrict to allow light in, weaken so we often require more light to see clearly.

If our lenses become cloudy, we have cataracts. Fifty percent of people over 75 years old get cataracts. There are more serious issues to that affect the aging eye – detached retina, glaucoma, macular degeneration and many chronic health issues will affect vision.

Just like the rest of our bodies, there are ways we can slow down the aging process not just to our eyes.

If you are on the computer or your phone for long stretches of the day, set a timer. And every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. You can also download a “Tibetan Eye Chart” which will lead your eyes on a series of exercises to stimulate the muscles and nerves of the optical system which, some say, may improve vision.

A diet low in sugar, high in brightly colored fruits and vegetables and dark leafy greens is rich in antioxidants. Cataracts are caused by oxidative damage to the lens. Excessive sugar deposits on the retina, the nerves, the blood vessel, the kidneys, causing reduced function in these tissues which will affect your vision as well.

Quit smoking.


Wear sunglasses.

I discovered for myself, that if I drink a large glass of water, first thing in the morning, the dryness in my eyes goes away. Fish oil also helps lubricates the eyes.

Spend time in nature, looking far out onto the horizon. A mountain top, a cliff over the ocean are perfect places to stretch your vision. Then, look at something close up. Focus on the minute – a leaf, a seashell, a rock, then again – outward and back, changing perspective.

We all need a little vision these days. Let’s do what we can to support our eyes. Remember, “No One ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.”


By Dr. Jennifer Means ND, LAc

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