Our eyes can benefit physically, functionally and cosmetically from a range of natural anti-ageing approaches. Eye health is, of course, our number one concern and as we age, vision, acuity, focus can all deteriorate. This is predominantly due to the cross linking of sugars and proteins in the cornea and other areas of the eye which happen as a result of exposure to Advanced Glycation End-products or ‘AGE’s. When AGEs affect eyes, the results can range from annoying – such as becoming progressively long sighted – to devastating – leading to progressive sight loss through cataracts and age related macular degeneration etc.
Hope is on the horizon though as there are lots of easy, inexpensive and natural approaches that we can use to combat and even reverse the potentially devastating effects of ageing on the eye.
Exercises to combat physical and functional decline:
One of the most successful eye health approaches ever created is the Bates Method. In 1920 William Bates published a book “Perfect Sight Without Glasses” which teaches various eye exercises to improve eyesight. However, it appears that the Bates Method can also combat degenerative eye conditions too. The Bates Association has a superb website featuring exercises, a database of Bates Method teachers and online games which improve your vision.
Nutrients and Supplements for Eye Health:
A healthy diet which emphasises lots of fresh vegetables is key to any anti-ageing programme. However, two nutrients, lutein and zeaxanthin, are probably the most important compounds which have a direct action on eye health – although they also have other extremely beneficial effects overall as they are highly anti-oxidant. Both are compounds called xanthophylls, members of the carotenoid family of compounds, which are found in orange and red plant pigments. (Interestingly, although lutein is considered a yellow pigment, in high concentrations it appears orange-red.)
Another naturally occurring antioxidant – N-acetylcarnosine – taken in the form of eye drops – has been demonstrated in trials to help alleviate eye strain, corneal ulcers and glaucoma and has also been used to help reduce the occurrence of and slow down the development of senile cataracts
Rock Around The Clock
One of my favourite eye exercises: Sit or stand up stand up straight and focus on a point level with your eyes. Imagine that as the centre of a big clock. The bigger the clock the better!
Look up as high as you can – to the twelve o’clock position – really focus on what you can see and then look back at the clock’s centre. Next, look as far as you can to the one o’clock position and then back to the clock’s centre and so on – moving around the clock. Then try it in reverse. The trick with this exercise is to keep your head completely still, and remember to focus. You’ll notice some aching in your eye muscles – but do persevere as this is an exercise that pays off really fast! It will improve your peripheral vision and alleviate ‘computer eye strain’ and help refresh tired eyes. ‘Rock around the clock’ should be done every day.
The Bates Method – website address: seeing.org
N-acetylcarnosine research papers, case studies etc. – website address: can-c.net (they also have a free e-book that you can download to learn all about N-acetylcarnosine)