Our Eyes Are A Critical Longevity Organ — And Yet, Many Neglect Them
When we think about longevity, cardiovascular and cognitive health typically come to mind first. Of course, nurturing your mental well-being and heart are vital (today and years down the road), but many people forget to take proper care of another vital longevity organ that seriously affects their quality of life as they age—their eyes.
"Given the many physiological and anatomical connections between the eyes and the brain, I consider eye health and brain health to be one and the same," explains neuroscientist and cognitive health scientist Milene Brownlow, Ph.D. "There is growing science demonstrating that preserving one's eye health is associated with increased quality of life and longevity."
Eye health issues have become a growing concern as people spend more and more time in front of digital screens each day. In fact, the results of a 2021 Statista survey found that nearly half of respondents spent approximately five to six hours on their phones each day—and that's not even taking into account any amount of time spent in front of a computer screen (for professional or recreational purposes).
It's clear that our need to combat vision concerns that result from excessive screen time—including screen fatigue, blue light exposure, and eye dryness—is more prevalent today than ever before.
The importance of vision longevity.
While some vision changes are expected as we age, maintaining optimal visual performance is extremely important to promote longevity and well-being later in life.
"The eyes are the window to our brains, and together they create our visual circuitry via a beautifully intricate network of photoreceptors, neurons, blood vessels, muscles, and more. Our eyes are also an oft-neglected organ when it comes to daily health practices," shares board-certified neurologist and environmental toxicologist Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D.
"In this world of near focus excess (prolonged computer use, phones close to our face, etc.), our eyes are experiencing burnout, and visual longevity is at stake," Ruhoy notes.
5 ways to optimize your eye health & longevity.
Luckily, there are quite a few things we can start doing today to properly care for our eye health and help promote vision longevity:
- Take a comprehensive eye health supplement: A quality vision longevity supplement packed with clinically backed doses of key botanical nutrients is a simple and effective way to holistically support your vision health. For example, mbg's eye health+ includes critical carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin to promote overall visual performance and ocular blood flow, plus Patagonian maqui berry to promote eye hydration and saffron to help protect your eyes from external stressors (i.e., pollutants and free radicals).*
- Add nutritious, eye-healthy foods to your diet: In addition to a holistic vision health supplement, consistently adding certain nutrients to your diet—such as lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin A, omega-3s, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and copper—can help further bolster your eye health and longevity.
- Reduce blue light exposure: You can protect your eyes from blue light by wearing sunglasses outside, blue light blockers when you're looking at screens for extended periods of time, and adding carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin (which act as "internal sunglasses") to your diet and supplementation regimen.*
- Practice the 20-20-20 Rule: For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, take 20 seconds to focus on something 20 feet away. Developed by optometrist Jeffrey Anshel, O.D., FAAO, in the '90s, this simple rule helps combat digital eye strain and eye fatigue.
- Exercise regularly: You're likely already aware that exercise is great for whole-body health and heart and brain longevity by now, but maintaining a regular workout routine promotes eye longevity as well. Exercise helps improve metabolic health and increases blood flow to the choroidal—a thin layer of tissue between the white layer of your eyes (sclera) and retinas—to supply adequate oxygen and nutrients to your eyes.
Taking proper care of your eyes is critical for optimizing your longevity and increasing your healthspan.
Whether you decide to run more throughout the week, add more fatty fish to your weekly meal plan, or take a daily vision longevity supplement like mbg's eye health+, your eyes will be thanking you down the road for the TLC you give them today.
To discover what optometrists, neuroscientists, research scientists, and registered dietitians think of mbg's vision longevity formula, read their raving reviews here. Then, take a break from your phone, computer, or tablet screen—your eyes have earned it!
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.