Supporting our Vision

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Woman on top of a mountain because she supported her vision

I know it’s been some time since my last post however the inspiration has returned.  I was introduced to a fascinating Doctor’s YouTube channel and the first podcast that I listened to was all about supporting our vision.  This was timely for me as my recent eye checkup revealed that my eye pressure went up significantly over the last year and I was sent for a specialist appointment.  That visit resulted in me having a laser procedure to hopefully provide relief for the pressure.  My follow-up appointment is not until July 19th when I learn if it worked.

Needless to say, I have become more curious about ways to support my eyes and vision.  A most important part of our life experience. My first response after the ophthalmologist visit was to journal what I was not wanting to see in my life.  With the massive changes going on in our world, it is not difficult to acknowledge some truth there however I dug deeper and peered into the personal well.  I did come up with a few nuggets that needed to be addressed.  Tough work and yet very empowering.  This is also where the work with a great coach supports us in our greatest life!  Shout out to @soulinspiredgurl.  The other beautiful synchronicity came through a good friend and colleague, Theresa who told me about a great doctor’s podcast series on YouTube.  Dr. Andrew Huberman is an American neuroscientist and professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  I will summarize some of the 90-minute sessions in this post and will provide a link to the full recording which I highly recommend.

Top Take Aways To Support Our Vision:

The only way that light information gets into our body is through the eyes. They are an extension of our brain. (neural retinas)  The fastest reflex we have is our ability to blink.

The ancient cells of the eyes are called retinal ganglion cells  – they send information to the brain and influence our mood, wakefulness, sleepiness, metabolism, blood sugar levels and pain threshold to name a few important things. 

To support the retinal ganglion cells, we need to spend 2-10 minutes outside in the morning when the sun is rising in the east and again in the evening when the sun is setting in the west. This anchors our body in time and sets our circadian clock.

To reduce the potential for myopia, it is advisable to spend at least 2 hours outside each day without sunglasses.

Exercises to offset the amount of time our eyes are focused up close on a devise or any other up close activity. 

Every 30 minutes of screen time, take a 2-5 minute break to look outside at a horizon or provide a panoramic view.  Ideally not through a window.

Every 90 minutes of screen time, go outside for 20 minutes to relax your eyes and again look at distant views.

Go for a walk or bike ride each day to provide the opportunity to optic flow. “Optic flow is the visual motion that results from an observer’s own movement through the environment. The distinguishing feature of optic flow is that it covers the entire visual field, whereas object motion covers only a part of the field.” This distresses our body.

Focus change: This is one of several eye accommodation exercises

  • Hold one finger a few inches away from one eye
  • Focus the gaze on the finger
  • Move the finger slowly way from the face
  • Focus on an object farther away, and then back on the finger.
  • Bring the finger back closer to the eye.
  • Focus on an object farther away.
  • Repeat three times.

Smooth Pursuit Exercises (also called tracking) will improve vision and keep muscles strong as the brain follows the movement of the eyes. Do for 5-10 minutes, 3 times per week.  Here is a quick YouTube link

Whole Foods:  dark leafy greens and carrots or high carotenoid vegetables.

Supplements – this area is under constant study however Dr.Huberman suggests there is evidence to support the use of Lutein especially when combined with Zeaxanthin and Astaxanthin.  He references a website called for reliable information.

After listening to this podcast twice, I realized that one area of great improvement over the last year for me, was my close-up vision.  My prescription went from 2.75 to 2.25 due to the number of hours I spent outside walking and in the garden last year.  I look forward to incorporating many more of these suggestions and supporting my visual health.  Here’s a link to the full podcast

What have you learned more about in this last year?  I am always curious and open to new insights.  Till next time, enjoy the summer and get out in the natural light.

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