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Schedule an annual comprehensive eye examination. Sure, nurses can be the last to practice the self-care that they offer others. But an eye exam can lead to reduced eye strain and prevent headaches. "Many people suffer from headaches from working on computers for most of the day," Wagh added. "Sometimes a mild glasses prescription can help relieve the tension caused by overexertion of your eye's focusing system. Talk to your eye doctor about what works best for your eyes!"
Eat for eye health. According to an American Academy of Ophthalmology blog post reviewed by Brenda Pagan-Duran, MD, "eating a diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help not only your heart but also your eyes. This isn't surprising: Your eyes rely on tiny arteries for oxygen and nutrients, just as the heart relies on much larger arteries. Keeping those arteries healthy will help your eyes."
The Age-Related Eye Diseases Study, funded by the National Eye Institute, determined "high levels of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduce the risk of advanced age-related macular degeneration and its associated vision loss."
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Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish, according to AAO. Vitamin C is another friend, since it "helps protect the body from damage caused by some things we eat, unhealthy habits and environmental factors," according to AAO. "Fried foods, tobacco smoke and the sun's rays can produce free radicals--molecules that can damage and kill cells. Vitamin C helps repair and grow new tissue cells."
Pick up some sweet potatoes. One of the top foods to focus on: orange-colored vegetables and fruits with vitamin A, according to the AAO. "Your retina needs plenty of vitamin A to help turn light rays into the images we see," it said. "Also, without enough vitamin A, your eyes can't stay moist enough to prevent dry eye."
"One medium sweet potato (five inches long) has only 100 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrate and 438% of the daily value of vitamin A!" registered dietitian Rahaf Al Bochi, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of the Atlanta-based Olive Tree Nutrition, noted on her blog. "Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant which helps protect your body from cellular aging. It's also important for eye health to help you see in the day and night."
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And lest you think these eye superfoods have to be boring, check out this lunch recipe with sweet potatoes as a key ingredient from Al Bochi's blog:
From Olive Tree Nutrition/registered dietitian Rahaf Al Bochi
3 medium sweet potatoes
For Bean Salad
1 cup chickpeas, homecooked or canned and drained
1 tomato diced
1 green onion, chopped, white and green parts
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch of salt
Yogurt Tahini Dressing
1 cup yogurt
2 Tbsp tahini
4 Tbsp water
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Wash and slice the sweet potato in half lengthwise.
Place face down on baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
3. In a bowl, combine chickpeas, tomato, parsley, onion, lemon, olive oil and salt. Mix and set aside.
4. Prepare the yogurt tahini dressing by mixing all the ingredients together.
5. Once the sweet potato comes out of the oven and is cool enough to handle, create an opening in the middle of each boat by gently pressing down on each with a spoon.
6. Spoon the bean salad into the boat and drizzle the tahini yogurt dressing on top. Enjoy right away.