Now is the time to take action for your eyeballs! Many of us take them for granted, but when our vision isn’t as good as it used to be, it sparks an appreciation for the miraculous gift of sight that these organs give us.
There are many lifestyle, dietary, and supplemental steps you can take to improve your vision and preserve your eyeballs.
It’s always good to put those steps into action throughout your life. But it’s especially critical to take action once you’ve noticed signs that your vision could be in trouble. Importantly, many of these signs that your eyes could be damaged don’t directly have to do with your eyes.
You’re probably wondering what these signs are, so let’s get down to it and start the journey to save your vision!
10 Signs of Unhealthy Eyes
1. You eat a lot of processed food.
Do you eat white bread, pasta, pastries, pizza, candy, soft drinks, and desserts? If you eat a decent amount of these things, chances are your eyes are not that healthy.
Processed foods like these are devoid of antioxidants that safeguard your eyes. They also can spike your blood sugar, which causes damage to the proteins in your eyes.
When your blood sugar spikes, oxidative and glycation damage to your eyes increases. And if your processed food diet lacks antioxidants, your eyes will be less protected from damage. The higher your blood sugar is, the more sugar will attach to and damage the proteins in your eyes 1.
2. You drink soft drinks.
Sugary soft drinks are especially harmful to your eyes because they contain a lot of fructose, which is vicious in its ability to damage the proteins in your eyes.
High fructose diets and drinking lots of soft drinks do great damage to the eyes and can contribute to cataract formation 2,3. In fact, fructose speeds up glycation damage 10X faster than glucose, so your eyes are going to suffer with every soft drink you gulp down!
3. Seeing “halos” around lights
Seeing circles around lights is a common sign of vision loss. Often, people will see these halos at night. If you’re driving your car at night and see halos, it could be a sign of cataracts or some other vision problem.
4. Cloudy vision
If things are looking cloudy or blurry, it could be a sign of cataracts.
Cloudy vision means that the proteins in your eyes have been damaged. This is usually due to decades of oxidative and glycation damage to your eyes.
The goal is to not have your vision get to this point. But if you have noticed cloudiness, you can still take steps to preserve the health of your eyes.
5. You have a lot of wrinkles.
Could your skin really indicate the health of your eyes? Yes!
Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and it’s a good indicator of the extent to which sugar has damaged your body. After all, sugars can damage the proteins in your skin similar to those in your eyes, and this glycation damage causes wrinkles.
So the more your skin is wrinkled, the higher the chance that the proteins in your eye are damaged as well.
6. You’ve experienced chronic stress.
Researchers say that stress can be involved in “causing” vision loss 4. Psychological stress impairs good circulation, depriving your eyes of adequate blood flow 4.
Also, if you’re chronically stressed out, your body will go into a state of oxidative stress, which can damage the cells of your eyes 5. Stress can also damage your eyes by increasing glycation because stress pumps up your blood sugar levels 6.
7. You don’t exercise.
Staying active helps preserve your eyes by increasing blood flow and lessening damage.
Studies have found that macular degeneration is 67% less likely to occur in people who exercise more than 7 hours a week 7. Another study found that both walking (moderate exercise) and running (more vigorous) significantly lower chances of developing cataracts 8.
8. You have memory loss or your thinking isn’t sharp.
Research has found an association between vision problems like macular degeneration and dementia 9. Many of the same processes that are involved in eye damage (like oxidative stress, glycation, and amyloid protein buildup) can be implicated in memory loss.
So if you’re brain isn’t working well, it’s a sign you need to take extra care of your vision.
9. You don’t eat leafy greens or fruit.
Our eyes actually store up antioxidants to protect themselves, and these antioxidants come from food.
Lutein is a carotenoid antioxidant found naturally in leafy greens (along with some orange and red foods). When you eat lutein, it becomes part of your eye. There’s a “massive buildup” of it in the eye, as researchers say 10.
Lutein’s “extremely potent antioxidant action” helps protect against oxidative stress from eye light exposure 10,11. So it’s no surprise that the more lutein you have in your eyes, the lower your chance of developing vision loss 12,13.
10. You don’t like caffeine.
How could not liking caffeine possibly affect your eyes?
Well, some of the most popular caffeinated drinks around the world—coffee and green tea—have been shown to protect the eyes:
- “Compared to non-drinkers, green tea drinkers had a significantly reduced risk of cataracts,” researchers have found 14.
- Studies have also shown that you’ll have a lower risk of developing cataracts if you’re a coffee drinker 15.
Of course, you don’t have to drink caffeine to have healthy eyes but it is good to remember that organic coffee and green tea can be healthy!