Do Your Reading Glasses No Longer Work? 7 Strategies To Improve Poor Eyesight
Are you struggling to read your text messages or a book before settling in for the night? Instead of getting stronger glasses, try the following strategies to improve poor eyesight:
- Stick with bigger screens on electronic devices
Straining your eyes to read small print on a small screen will only make your vision worse and potentially give you a headache. As hard as Apple tries to make their smart watches accessible with bigger screens, the screens are still too small for people with low vision.
The size of your smartphone screen is probably fine, considering most phones have only increased in size over the years. The important thing is not to force yourself to squint and strain your eyes to read something. Pressure in your head can contribute to poor vision, and you don’t want to do anything that could bring on a migraine headache.
- Don’t rely on carrots
You’ve probably heard that carrots improve eyesight. You may have also heard this is a myth. The truth is somewhere in the middle.
Carrots contain vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, which is known to be good for eye health. Studies have found that vitamin A supplements can reverse poor vision for people with a vitamin A deficiency. However, that doesn’t mean vitamin A – or carrots – are a cure for all vision problems. Unless you’re deficient, carrots won’t improve your vision.
The rumor that carrots improve eyesight came from World War II propaganda designed to confuse German soldiers and make them think British troops could see in the dark. This propaganda was spread through stories and posters. For instance, in 1940, John Cunningham was the first night fighter ace to use AI to shoot down an enemy plane. After 19 kills at night, word spread that his success was due to eating an excessive amount of carrots. The propaganda posters advised citizens to eat carrots and leafy greens to help them see during the blackouts.
Carrots can make a great snack, but get your vitamin A levels tested before eating them in excess or taking vitamin A supplements. Like many vegetables, carrots contain carbohydrates that need to be accounted for if you’re watching your nutritional intake. If you’re not deficient in vitamin A, supplements won’t work.
- Consider medical treatment options
If you’ve tried supplements and your vision isn’t getting better, you might be a good candidate for LASIK. LASIK surgery reshapes the cornea to correct the way light is bent to reduce blurry vision. LASIK is said to work better for people with mild nearsightedness, but most people are satisfied with the results.
If you’ve developed cataracts, consider getting lens replacement surgery. Cataracts form on the lens of the eye, so replacing your lenses will remove the cataracts entirely. With a lens replacement, you can choose to see far away or close up. Or, a combination of both.
Glaucoma is another cause for vision problems, but doesn’t show symptoms right away. “Glaucoma is a collection of related diseases that gradually damage the optic nerve, which is responsible for conveying visual data from the eye to the brain,” explains the Swagel Wootton Eye Institute. “This damage is caused by excessive pressure within the eye, which tends to be a consequence of an overproduction of intraocular fluid or an inability to properly drain it.”
There is no cure for glaucoma. However, medical intervention can slow the progression and minimize symptoms.
- Dive into nutrition
Vitamin A aside, there are two main nutrients needed for eye health: lutein and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are found mostly in leafy greens like kale and spinach. According to Dr. Mercola, the human body can’t produce these nutrients and must get them from diet.
Dr. Mercola also points out that vitamin C combats cataracts. With cataracts being the second leading cause of vision loss, it’s important to do everything possible to prevent them. Dr. Mercola describes a study that found people who ate more vitamin C-rich foods were one-third less likely to develop cataracts. He says the food highest in vitamin C is the acerola cherry.
- Get checked for diabetes
Blurred vision can be a symptom of diabetes. High blood sugar makes the lens of your eyes swell. This cause for blurred vision can be corrected by getting your blood sugar under control.
- Don’t wear reading glasses unless necessary
Your reading glasses may have become part of you, but don’t wear them unless absolutely necessary. Wearing reading glasses for a prolonged period of time can create more eye strain, which can lead to migraine headaches and further blurred vision.
- Get the right prescription for glasses
If your eyes constantly hurt when wearing glasses, make sure you’ve got the right prescription. Your prescription will change over time, so it’s important to get regular eye exams to make those corrections.