Mindfulness is more than just a way to find peace and calmness and bring balance into your life. Because it helps you stay present, mindfulness can safeguard your physical and mental health. Additionally, mindfulness for eye health can increase your awareness of factors like breathing, posture, and thoughts, better understanding how to cope with emotions like stress and helping you more effectively manage things like blood pressure and sleep quality.
Yet mindfulness can go further and benefit other aspects of your health, including your eyes. Like other parts of the body, the eyes are subject to certain diseases, like cataract formation, glaucoma, and vision loss. With mindfulness, you can better find ways to protect your eyesight. Read on to learn more about mindfulness for eye health, why this works, and how you can try it yourself.
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How Mindfulness Can Protect Your Eyesight
Can mindfulness really protect the quality of your eyes? Medical studies show, that yes – there’s huge potential that it can! Here are some ways meditation and mindfulness practices can boost your vision.
It Can Strengthen the Eye Muscles
Your eye muscles are what allow you to move your eyes, focus on objects, and even let light enter them. If they’re weak, your eyes can misalign, potentially resulting in double vision or blurry eyesight.
Luckily, a study on vision acuity training for people with myopia reveals that incorporating meditation elements—like movement, breathing, and imagination—into mindfulness exercises can strengthen the eye’s muscle regulation functions. Since myopic individuals have difficulty seeing faraway objects clearly, this helps them improve their eye muscles’ ability to focus better. Even if you don’t have myopia, you can practice mindfulness through meditation to maintain strong eye muscles.
It Can Reduce Stress On the Eyes
Intraocular pressure refers to how much fluids build up pressure in the eye. This can increase due to several factors, like eye injuries. High intraocular pressure is a symptom of glaucoma, a condition that could cause damage to the optic nerve and can cause blindness.
You can maintain healthy intraocular pressure levels using mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on the optic disc—the beginning of the optic nerve. MBSR is a program that offers intensive mindfulness training that helps people better manage stress, anxiety, and pain. This has been shown to reduce intraocular pressure, thus normalizing the stress biomarkers and improving the quality of life in glaucoma patients. In individuals without glaucoma, the practice can help prevent the condition from developing in the first place.
How to Maximize the Benefits of Mindfulness for Eye Health
Now, all this is well and good, but how do we actually put mindfulness to work to the benefit of our eyesight? Here are some ideas:
Practice Eye Yoga
Yoga and mindfulness are closely related. They both emphasize balance, increase bodily awareness, and relieve stress through meditation. That’s why you might want to try eye yoga—exercises specifically designed to improve your eyesight.
A few eye yoga exercises that can improve your eyesight are visualizing a figure eight on the ground and tracing it with your eyes both clockwise and counter-clockwise, stretching your eyes by looking up and down diagonally, and performing three sets of blinking 10-15 times. These can increase eye flexibility, improve control over your eye muscles, and prevent strain commonly caused by reading or using digital devices.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Consuming some key nutrients can help you focus on your breathing, posture, and more when practicing mindfulness. For example, a 2022 Nutrition Facts article found that blueberries have antioxidants that can improve mood and attentiveness. Meanwhile, green tea contains L-theanine, which can aid concentration and similarly enhance alertness.
More importantly, a nutritious diet can maintain overall healthy eyesight. The best foods for eye health are those rich in vitamin A, lutein, and zeaxanthin—such as eggs, liver, spinach, and kale. Vitamin A keeps your eyes moist, while lutein and zeaxanthin reduce oxidative damage from UV rays that can cause age-related sight loss. If you’re unsure about which foods to prioritize, an eye exam can help you determine your eyes’ condition and what you can do to improve them.
Where you meditate plays a big impact on the benefits you get. Meditating outdoors, for example, brings you closer to the earth and your true, inner self. This is why going outside is recommended for beginners in the mindfulness practice. Moreover, spending time outdoors enables your eyes to focus on farther distances—like the trees or horizon—which can prevent short-sightedness.
So, if you’re looking to conduct a mindfulness exercise, head outside. This can be as simple as sitting in your garden, stopping by your local park, or taking a break on a weekend hiking trip.
You can protect your eyesight by simply being more mindful. Try these tips on mindfulness for eye health to keep your mind, body, and eyes healthy.
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