Beautiful, Healthy Eyes

by: Danielle Winston
August 1, 2021

woman with shadows on her face

Eyes are known to be one of the most revealing parts of the body, famous for showcasing a range of emotions: alluring, innocent, sad, soulful. Frame them differently through the use of makeup, and your look can be instantly transformed. A smokey eye paints a dramatic visual, while pale eye shadow portrays a more natural image. Along with conveying feelings, science tells us that the eyes are directly linked to brain health. According to Dr. Marc Grossman, Medical Director of Natural Eye Care, author of Natural Eye Care: Your Guide to Healthy Vision and Healing, “Your eyes are the brain's manifestation of itself on the outside of your body.” Grossman likens them to video cameras, allowing you to immediately process and relate to your surrounding environment. Unfortunately, during the course of everyday life, factors like pollution, device screens, diet and sunlight, can strain and cause serious damage to your eyes.

On a surface level, the skin under your eyes (the periocular area) has to be cared for too. With the exception of your lips, it can be as much as ten times finer than the tissue on the rest of your face. So, for optimum results, always choose a nutrient-based, gentle skincare that nurtures the delicate tissue there, such as Kat Burki Eye creams or serums.

an eye with three dots of product

Luckily, when it comes to eye wellness, there are countless ways* to care for the ‘windows to your soul’.

*As with any holistic alternatives, explore which options are best for your needs. Always consult with your health practitioner first to discuss side effects, and possible interactions.

Blue Light

Without realizing it, one of the most harmful things people do to their eyes on a regular basis is “spending too much time on digital devices,” according to Dr. Grossman, as much as an eye-opening average of over 11 hours per day! Eye strain and fatigue, headaches, blurred vision, they are all possible symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Dr. Grossman goes on to explain that “too much exposure to blue light may be linked to an increased risk of macular degeneration, and sleep cycle disruption.” If that's not enough to get you to lessen your screen time, consider this - “At night, blue light can disrupt your circadian rhythm by reducing the natural release of melatonin,” says Dr. Grossman. How does it work? “Blue light tricks your brain into believing that it is daytime, which makes falling asleep more difficult and lowers your sleep quality,” he adds.

The holistic mind/body practice of color therapy tracks back centuries. Along with promoting a cheery feeling akin to sunshine, the color yellow naturally filters out blue tones. It's a highly effective, natural method of combating harmful blue light. Try yellow tinted glasses, or opt for a yellow screen App.

Filtering out blue light goes a long way to protect your eyes, but it's also important to practise present moment awareness. The more mindful of your time you become, the easier it is to recognize when you need to take a break, step away, and give your eyes a rest. With regular eye-care check-ins, you'll be less likely to overuse and strain them. No different from the rest of your body, renewal is necessary, along with stretching and toning the eye muscles.

Dry Eye

“Dry, itchy eyes, or "Dry Eye Syndrome” is the most common complaint that eye doctors hear from patients,” according to Dr. Grossman. Thankfully, there are various means of prevention and treatment. He recommends, “nutrients such as vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, Magnesium, GLA, DHA, Mucopolysaccharides (mucopolysaccharides are sugar molecules clumped together in a long chain) and turmeric.” These options may help ease chronic and severe cases of dry eye.

Blinking & Lubrication

In addition to blue light, when you focus on a device for prolonged periods, it keeps the eyes open for longer stretches of time than other activities. While it may sound overly simple, remembering to blink often is much like developing an awareness of breathing, and will benefit your eyes in profound ways. Along with cleaning the ocular surface, the act of opening and closing them, naturally lubricates them. “Blinking is an essential part of eye comfort, because the tear film naturally begins to degrade after about 10 seconds and needs renewal,” says Dr. Grossman.

food and drink

Mindful Eating & Diet

Science often tells us that what you put on your skin, and how you feed your body, manifests in mind/body health, and the eyes are no exception. Dr. Grossman advocates something he calls, The Vision Diet, rooted in the Mediterranean way of eating. Focused on eye health, it includes “organic food, dark leafy greens, reduced sugars, and favors fish that are low on the food chain. Fresh juices, and foods tending towards alkaline rather than acidic, are also recommended,” says Dr. Grossman.

Supplements

One supplement that consistently stands out is astaxanthin. Its benefits extend to your “vision, brain, circulatory system, immune system, etc., but with a difference. It provides significantly greater antioxidant protection (10x to 100x more) than other antioxidants," according to Dr. Grossman.

In addition to offering powerful protection, what makes astaxanthin truly exceptional, is that it crosses the blood/brain barrier. How does that affect your eyes? Dr. Grossman explains that, unlike other supplements, astaxanthin sends antioxidant protection directly to your brain. “Its ability to protect from oxidative damage, arising from exposure to blue and blue-violet light, is critical for retinal and macular health.” He adds, “its protection against inflammation, and resulting oxidative stress, is important for the body, eye, and the brain.”

Two other recommended supplements are Lutein, “It protects the eye against blue and near-blue (ultra-violet) light, helpful for macular degeneration and other eye conditions,” explains Dr. Grossman; and Zeaxanthin, “Critical for the health of the macula, and helpful for macular degeneration and cataracts.”

just a woman's eye

Eye Yoga

“Yoga, and a philosophy of natural vision, work together to support mind-body unity,” says Dr. Grossman, who advocates an integrative approach to caring for the eyes. Eye movements, (Netra Vyayamam) are an age-old yogic practice, known to tone the optic nerve and stretch the muscles. Coupled with gentle massage and palming, they serve to ease tension, and further relax the eyes.

*The moments should flow naturally. If you experience any pain or discomfort, immediately stop and rest your eyes.

Instructions:

Assume a comfortable, seated position with your spine straight, head, neck and shoulders relaxed. Take a deep breath through your nose, slowly exhale.

Circular: Envision a gigantic clock before you. Starting at 12:00, make slow, wide, sweeping circles. Be careful not to skip or jump by any numbers. After 10-15 seconds, center your eyes, close and relax. Repeat in the opposite direction.

Vertical: Bring your gaze to the top of the vision, and slope down in a smooth, natural motion. Continue for 20-30 seconds. Afterwards, center the eyes, close and relax.

Horizontal: Draw your eyes to the far left of your eye-line. Gently sweep to the right. Take your time. After 20-30 seconds, center them, close and relax.

After the movements...

Palming: Rub your palms together, and blow into them for a moment to generate some heat. Then, cup the eyes. Let the warmth and darkness soothe and relax. After a few moments, release the hands and lightly tap fingertips along your temples. Gently massage behind the ears, followed by your third eye, forehead and facial muscles.

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