Meditation & Health #20-Vision Care Protect Your Eyes


 

Meditation & Health No 20 - Table of Contents

 
 

Vision Care Protect Your Eyes

BY ZI YOU, QING QIAN & JULIANA SUN

 
      Healthy eyes are a gift, but people often take vision for granted. Protecting your eyesight is an important part of maintaining good quality of life.
 
      Venturing out in Nature was once a regular daily activity. Gazing at lush greenery provides soothing comfort to the eyes. But now, modern life is often lived in an urban environment, with an abundance of time spent interacting with gadgets and digital devices. The stress of contemporary life and excessive screen time may lead to severe consequences for your eyes. Vision is precious. Remember to take care of the gift of sight.
 
 

Causes of Poor Eyesight

 

Hereditary

 
      It’s important to know your family’s eye-health history as it helps you to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease. The list of conditions to be aware of includes strabismus (cross-eyes). amblyopia (lazy eye), myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), color blindness, and astigmatism.
 

Age-Related Eye Diseases

 
      As you age, you are at higher risk of developing age-related eye diseases and conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts and macular degeneration.
 

Contact Lenses

 
      According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in five patients had severe damage resulting in a scarred cornea or requiring a corneal transplant. People should not wear their contact lenses to sleep because it raises the risk of eye infections by six to eight times.
 

Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation

 
      Long- and short-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation can affect our vision, causing eye diseases such as pinguecula, photokeratitis or ultraviolet keratitis, cataracts, and macular degeneration. People who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as mountain climbers, hikers, and swimmers, are twice as likely to develop cataracts.
 
      Every year some 16 million people in the world lose their vision due to cataracts.
The World Health Organization estimates suggest that up to 20 percent of cataracts may be caused by overexposure to UV radiation and are therefore avoidable.
 

Digital Screen Time

 
      The eyes are not meant for seeing things at a close distance for hours at a time without a break. However, the amount of time people spend looking at digital screens has increased dramatically, from using computers to being glued to a smartphone or television.
 
      When the eyes are focused on screens for an extended period of time, they can become tired, dry or sore, as the rate of blinking drops significantly. This causes the eyes to age prematurely and the damage could be irreversible. The blue light emitted by digital display devices could lead to macular degeneration of the retina. Looking at a mobile phone before bedtime in the dark can also cause further harm to your eyes.
 

Other Eye Complications

 
      Diabetic patients are prone to diabetic retinopathy, which blindness. People
  is a potential cause of who have severe near-sightedness are at risk of retinal detachment, cataracts and glaucoma.
 
      Other unwholesome habits include reading in the dark or holding a book too close to your eyes, using inferior eye makeup, excessive alcohol consumption, strong preference for foods high in salt, sugar and unhealthy forms of fat, and not eating sufficient amounts of vegetables and fruits.
 
 

Know Your Eyes

 

Answer YES or NO to each question.

 
      Do you tend to move your eyes close to the page or screen while reading or writing?
 
      Do you find yourself squinting to read?
 
      Do words tend to appear blurry after reading for a while?
 
      Do you experience blurred or double vision?
 
      Do you feel there is foreign matter in your eyes?
 
      Do you feel discomfort in your eyes such as tiredness, soreness, burning, or itching?
 
      Do you unconsciously rub your eyes frequently?
 
      Do you experience excessive tearing and discharge?
 
      Do you have dry eyes and increased sensitivity to light?
 
      Do you notice that the letters on the computer screen or handheld device are not sharply defined, or that the level of contrast between the letters and the background is reduced, or that the presence of glare and reflections on the screen makes reading difficult?
 

Test results If you score:

 
7 < YES
 
      It is recommended to have your eyes examined as you have neglected them over a long period of time.
 
2 — 6 YES
 
      You’re beginning to experience eye fatigue. Take care with some eye exercises to relieve tired eyes.
 
0 — 1 YES
 
      Congratulations! Your eyes are basically healthy.
 
 
      Massaging certain acupressure points daily helps to relieve eye-muscle tension. Acupressure unblocks the meridians, improving blood flow. Use gentle pressure, as the areas around the eyes are very sensitive. Massage each point in a circular motion to a count of eight times per cycle and repeat for four cycles.
 

1. Eye-Ear Points

 
      This point is located in the middle of each lobe. Use the thumb and index finger to rub the eye-ear point to improve vision. /Id
 

2. Temple Points

 
      Using both thumbs, massage your temples. Next, while the thumbs are anchored at the temples, use the edge of your index fingers to gently press and rub in a circle around the upper eye sockets four times. Repeat for the lower eye sockets four times.
 

3. Si Bai Points

 
      Place your index finger one-finger-width below the lower ridge of the eye socket in line with the center of the iris and massage gently.
 

4. Feng Chi Points

 
       These points are located at the back of the head. Follow the groove from the ear bone down to where your neck muscles are attached to the skull. You will feel two indentations. Use the thumbs to massage these two points behind the head in an up-and-down motion.
Acupressure Massage for Eye Stress
 

5. Dumal Points

 
      Using your four fingers, apply pressure and massage along the Dumai meridian on the head. Start from Renzhong, which is located at the middle concave between the nose and the upper lip, and work your way to Yamen on the back of the neck, directly above the midpoint of the posterior hairline. As though you are washing your hair, massage from the hairline to the back of the head, and then from the back to the front. Press all the Dumai points on the head.
 
 

Tips for Healthy Eyes

Practicing proper eye care can prevent poor eyesight and vision loss as you age.

 

Good Habits

 
      • Ensure the room is not too bright or dim when working on the computer or looking at your smartphone or e-reader.

      • Maintain a correct sitting posture while reading, using your mobile phone or working at your computer. Do not lie down on one side or slouch while you are doing your activities.

      • Avoid wearing contact lenses for long hours.

      • Eye makeup, including mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow, should be discarded three months after being opened as such makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria. Replace cosmetics regularly to avoid eye infections. Don’t share makeup.

      • Choose outdoor activities instead of computer games.
 

Eye Exercises

 
Look away from the screen
      After working at the computer for 20 minutes, take a break by looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Blink 20 times to lubricate your eyes. While answering a phone call, take the opportunity to look away from the computer screen. The 20-20-20-20 rule can help reduce eyestrain.
 
Visualization
      Rub your palms until they’re warm and gently cup them over your eyes. Feel the energy from your palms permeate your eyes. Imagine your eyes feel as fresh and clear as a lake in autumn.

      When your eyes feel slightly moist, glide the index finger and middle finger of each hand across each eyelid without actually touching, from the inner corner to the outer corner, soothing your tired eyes. (Adapted from Grandmaster JinBodhi’s closing meditation exercises)
 
Gaze at a tree with a calm heart
      Feeling calm, look at a distant tree. Look first at its small twigs, and then slowly see a few tree branches. Look at the shape of its leaves. Let your heart exchange energy with the tree. Slowly, bring your focus from the tree to a near object and back again. A daily 20-minute practice helps to improve eyesight. (Adapted from Grandmaster JinBodhi’s Pure Heart Mudra)
 
 
Essential Nutrients
      Your eyes require the following nutrients for retinal health and to prevent potentially blinding conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma.
 
      • Beta-carotene is found in dark-green leafy vegetables such as sweet potato leaves and spinach, as well as in bell peppers, wolfberry (goji berry), carrots and fruits such as mango and papaya.
 
      • Vitamin C and carotenoids are antioxidants that help to prevent UV damage to the eyes. Vitamin C also strengthens the immune system for increased resistance to eye infections, and can reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Foods which are rich in antioxidants include green pepper, spinach, tomato, and most fruits.
 
      In addition, eat foods that are blue or purple in color such as blueberry, blackcurrant, grape, and eggplant as they contain anthocyanin which can enhance blood circulation and metabolic function in the eyes, as well as improve night vision.
 
      • B Vitamins help to maintain the health of the optic nerves and corneas. B vitamins are found in brown rice, whole grains, beans, milk, green leafy vegetables, banana, and avocado.
 
Warm and Cold Compresses
      A warm towel promotes blood circulation around your eyes, reducing eye fatigue, and can alleviate the symptoms of dry eye. If your eyes feel fatigued, dry and itchy, use a cold compress first followed by a warm compress.
 
Wear Protective Eyewear
      Avoid direct exposure to sunlight, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when UV rays are at their strongest. Wear a good pair of sunglasses that block out 100 percent of the harmful rays or use an umbrella. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards specially designed to provide the correct protection for your chosen activities.
 
 

Eye Health

All Year Round

 

Spring

 
      The urge to spend time outdoors is often irresistible once spring arrives. Gazing up at the blue sky occasionally can help regulate eye muscles and nerves. This in turn helps to prevent and treat myopia as well as ease eye fatigue.
 

Summer

 
      The skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body and susceptible to UV radiation. Exposure to excessive UV radiation over a short period of time can cause extreme 4 sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. It can be painful and feel like sunburn to the eye. To ensure full protection and overall eye health, wear dark-colored sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect all sides of your eyes.
 
      The use of air conditioners to combat the heat can cause the skin and eyes to lose water, making it harder for the body to produce tears and thus leading to dry eyes. Avoid the draft of the air conditioner directly hitting your eyes. Place a pot of water in the room to increase air humidity.
 
      Consume cooling foods such as cucumber, summer squash, zucchini, apple, and lemon, and drink chrysanthemum tea to reduce your internal body heat. Eat liver-boosting foods such as grapefruit, beet, leafy greens, and avocado, as normal liver function is beneficial to the eyes. According to studies, our liver detoxes from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thus, it is important not to stay up beyond 11 p.m. to allow the body to carry out its reparative processes.
 
 

Autumn

 
      In autumn, the skin tends to become dry and the eyes are also prone to dryness. During this season, eat less spicy and greasy foods. Instead, consume hydrating vegetables such as radish, cucumber and lotus root as well as fruits such as strawberry, apple, orange, grapefruit, pear, grape, lemon, and kiwi.
 

Winter

 
      Cold wind and dry air can cause blood vessels around the eyes to constrict. When those vessels narrow, the amount of blood that flows through them is restricted. In serious cases, a blood clot could cause the blood supply to be cut off, resulting in an eye stroke, otherwise known as retinal artery occlusion. Smokers and sufferers of atherosclerosis, diabetes and hypertension are at higher risk of an eye stroke. Exercises in the cold seasons are crucial to improve blood circulation. Do not forget to wear protective eyewear when outdoors to avoid the harsh glare off the snow.
 
      “The eyes are the windows to the soul” is an expression often used to describe the deep connection one feels when looking into another’s eyes. A clear, bright gaze radiates beauty and openness, as well as being a window to the health of the body. Pay attention to messages from your eyes, which contain clues to overall wellness. Routine eye checkups are crucial to detecting visual problems early. Be grateful for the gift of vision and cultivate good eye habits. There is so much to see in the beautiful world around us.
 

 

Meditation & Health No 20 - Table of Contents