Perhaps you’re tired of banging into walls, sitting on top of your computer screen, or wearing mismatched socks. You’re in luck — things are a lot easier for us than our ancestors due to advancements in medicine, science, and technology — not to mention street smarts and common sense. From nutrition tips to state-of-the-art corrective methods, here are a few ways to improve your eyesight and vision.
How to Improve Eyesight
- Ehh! What’s Up Doc?
What about that rascally rabbit Bugs and his love of carrots — did his keen vision help him outsmart Elmer Fudd?! Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a plant pigment essential for making vitamin A — an important vitamin for eye health and seeing well in low light conditions. The good news is carrots provide some vision-healthy nutrients. The bad news is eating them every day won’t restore less than perfect vision to 20/20! No need to dig in your neighbor’s garden or binge on Bug’s favorite food, but you can make carrots a part of your daily diet. And if you don’t like rascally rabbit food, sweet potatoes, winter squash, cantaloupe, and apricots are also good sources of beta carotene.
- You Gotta Eat Your Spinach Baby
Way back in 1936, Shirley Temple, Alice Faye, and Jack Haley (yes, the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz) sung the praises of spinach in this delightfully quaint song. Spinach and other leafy greens are good for your vision because they contain lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants increase the density of pigment in the macula, the center part of the retina that blocks harmful rays, and also help the eyes detect contrast better. Since they are fat soluble, experts suggest pairing leafy greens with olive oil to increase absorption. Other foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin include broccoli, zucchini, and eggs.
- Go Fish!
Not the card game, the finned variety rich in omega-3 fatty acids. That’s right, salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, and herring contain beneficial levels of omega-3s. If you don’t fancy fish — walnuts, kidney beans, flaxseeds, chia seeds, edamame, and kidney beans are other good sources. A number of studies suggest omega-3 fatty acids may help protect adults from macular degeneration, dry eye, and possibly decrease the risk of high eye pressure and therefore glaucoma.
How to Improve Your Vision
- Oh Magoo, You’ve Done it Again!
This famous myopic refused to wear glasses to correct his extreme nearsightedness, causing all sorts of problems for characters he encountered. Myopia (nearsightedness) results in only being able to see things clearly close up. If you find yourself getting lost on road trips, this could be chalked up to difficulty reading road signs, rather than a poor sense of direction! On the flipside, hyperopia (farsightedness) means you can see distant objects more clearly. Eyeglasses correct these common refractive errors, but only improve your vision when you wear them. Consider yourself lucky — when the first eyeglasses were invented in the late 13th century, they were made of heavy metal and bone frames with quartz lenses. A far cry from the state-of-the-art lightweight frames and superbly crafted lenses manufactured today. In this day and age, choosing not to correct your myopia or hyperopia is not a good option — after all, life’s not a cartoon!
- Don’t Move — I Dropped My Contact Lens!
Vision correction contacts have come a long way since the first ones were marketed around 1887. Believe it or not, they were made of blown glass and covered the entire white of the eyeball (sclera). If you dropped one of those babies, they likely shattered into pieces. Today’s contact lenses are available in many varieties and you can even buy tinted vision-correcting lenses. These are great if you have green-eyed envy or have been bitten by any other color envy bug!
- Change From Clark Kent to Superman
Not really, but this got your attention, didn’t it? But seriously, if you are tired of wearing eyeglasses or contacts, you may be a candidate for surgery. LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses) uses lasers to reshape the cornea and correct refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) uses the same technology to correct mild to moderate myopia. Refractive lens exchange (RLE) involves removing the clear natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens, typically to reduce or eliminate severe farsightedness. Conductive keratoplasty (CK) uses heat from low-level radio waves to shrink the collagen and change the shape of the cornea to correct mild to moderate hyperopia. Although you won’t get X-ray vision like Superman, you can benefit from these procedures, as well as other cutting-edge eye surgery!