You care about your body. You put time in at the gym, go running every morning and try to eat right - although you occasionally fall off a healthy diet. You may even go one step further and do a little bodybuilding to tone that stomach and get that sculpted look. However, there is probably one part of your body that you never think about giving a workout - your eyes. Believe it or not, there are lots of things you can do to keep your eyes fighting fit and ward off deterioration as you age.
The starting point, of course, is nutrition. No, you're not going to give your eyes a protein shake, but lots of the same nutrients that keep your body running smoothly are also exactly what your eyes need to stay in top condition. We all know about betacarotene from carrots - this is converted by our bodies into vitamin A, which prevents night blindness. However, most of us get enough of this in our diets anyway, so it's a good idea to focus on some of the other nutrients our eyes need. These include vitamin C and vitamin E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Of course, you can take supplements for these, but there are also many natural sources such as nuts for vitamin E, leafy vegetables for vitamin C, and flax seeds for omega-3 fatty acids.
The next thing is exercise. Your eyes are controlled by muscles, just like the rest of your body and they need a good workout. If they don't get this, then you may end up having trouble focusing or moving your eyes quickly, especially if you spend most of your day staring at a computer monitor. Exercising may not improve your vision - for example, if you are shortsighted you will still need glasses or laser surgery from an ophthalmologist such as benjamineye.com - but it can keep your eyes performing at their peak from day to day.
A simple activity that you can do to exercise your eye muscles is to hold a pencil in front of you at arm's length. Focus on it, and then moved to pencil closer and closer until you can focus on it no more. Repeat this exercise 10 times once a day, and you will start to find it easier to focus on things in real life. One variant of this is to focus on something in the far distance and then slowly bring your focus back to something that is near at hand.
It's also very important to protect your eyes. Of course, if you're working with heavy machinery or sawing wood, you're going to put on protective goggles. But, have you ever thought about the damage that ultraviolet light can do to your eyes? It can damage your skin, and your eyes are no different. When the sun is bright, always wear wraparound sunglasses that screen out both UVA and UVB light. In fact, there is even a US standard which specifies how much UV light sunglasses should let through - ANSI Z80.3-2001. This way, you will avoid a number of potential problems down the road, including cataracts.