Is there such a thing as organic eye care?
Absolutely! Sparkling, radiant eyes are things of beauty—the eyes truly are the windows to our soul. You can keep them this way with a variety of natural, organic methods.
Our vision is truly priceless. Yet, over time, eye strain, exposure to toxins, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, and simply poor treatment can lead to many woes. The obvious would be puffiness, wrinkles, and dark circles, but there’s also conjunctivitis, dry-eye syndrome, presbyopia, glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. So be diligent in caring for those magnificent peepers!
Get regular eye exams, lots of exercise, plenty of rest, and give maximum attention to proper nutrition. Did you know more than 25 percent of the nutrients from our food go to our visual system? You should also hydrate with natural eye drops, tears, or washes as needed. Use only the most sterile, natural, and organic products in and around your eyes, and reduce exposure to environmental allergens and toxins.
Eye exercises and massage can help relax, cleanse, and strengthen your eyes. My yoga classes include a bit of “eye yoga.” As moving into postures, I ask my students to stretch their eyes toward the sky, the back wall, from side to side, and so on. The vessels and muscles surrounding the eyes can benefit from increased blood flow and prana. More practices that can be done several times daily include:
• Focus on objects at varying distances to strengthen muscles used to focus the eyes and give your eyes a break. Try this: Hold a finger a foot away from your face, at nose level, and focus on it for ten seconds, now shift your focus to an object about 10 feet away for 10 seconds. This is one round; do 10 rounds and then relax.
• To relax your optic nerve, enhance blood circulation, and relieve muscular tension in and around eyes: Squeeze eyes tightly shut, and then gently open, letting tension dissolve away. Blink several times and turn your head from side to side. “Palm” your eyes by briskly rubbing palms together, then cupping over closed eyes and nose. Consider adding essential oil before rubbing palms together. Relax and breathe deeply.
• Do daily serenity checks, where you soften and relax facial features by gently closing your eyes and consciously letting your muscles relax or “hang,” without furrowing the brow, frowning, or scrunching the eyes. Serenity now!
• Massage the eye area, using an organic oil. With ring fingers, gently press around your eye socket from the outer corner, along the bottom edge, and then along the top of your eyelid, just below the brow bone.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our eyes are nourished by the liver. The liver meridian runs through tissues surrounding the eyes, bringing the life force energy into this area. The liver filters many of the toxins we take in, so it’s essential to eat as healthfully as possible (lots of veggies, fruits, etc.) to support the liver’s function of processing toxins we’re exposed to. By the way, lutein, the powerhouse eye nutrient that can help stave off macular degeneration, is found in abundance in green, leafy vegetables, egg yolks, and more. Make certain it’s in your daily vitamin supplement. Also get daily Omega 3’s for normal tear production.
Milk thistle is one of the best herbs to detoxify the system, cleanse the blood, and support liver function. Also consider burdock and dandelion in whole food, tea, or tincture form. The herbs eyebright and bilberry specifically support eye health. Find any of these at your favorite health and Whole Foods store, including on-line. Eyebright can also be found in a number of eye treatments, notably Amala’s organic Hydrating Eye Treatment, which I covet!
Consider one of the following natural eye treatments, each of which, when applied over closed eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, serves a delicious and soothing purpose. Consider while napping, meditating, or taking a soak.
• Cotton pads doused with ice-cold organic milk or lavender or rosewater and placed over eyes can reduce and soothe puffy, irritated eyes.
• Placing organic cucumber or apple slices over eyes has similar effects.
• Cooled organic black tea, chamomile, and calendula in bags or compresses, can soothe and reduce swelling.
• And certainly consider one of the stellar organic treats in the marketplace. Dr. Hauschka’s Eye Solace, a soothing herbal eye compress that calms and relieves irritated eyes is heavenly.
Be exceptionally careful about what you put in or around your eyes, such as makeup, treatments, or contact lenses/solutions. (Toxins from highly chemical-laden product can absorb into and damage epithelial tissue in the eye, as well as surrounding eye tissue.) This includes how you apply, massage, or insert said items to prevent assault to the sensitive eye area. Conscious care may also prevent problems like bacterial infections or allergic reactions.
• Be especially careful with eye makeup, throwing out any product that is over six months old. I am loving the organic Nvey Eco and SukiColor, as well as Jane Iredale makeup brands. All so pure yet so progressive. Nvey Eco even has compostable makeup brushes!
• Use organic almond, olive, avocado, or sesame oil to gently massage the eye areas. You can also use these oils on a dampened organic cotton pad to gently remove makeup.
• Each night use a cotton swab to brush a light application of olive or castor oil along your brows and lashes. Over time this creates thicker, more lustrous lashes and brows. (And if going commercial, consider the natural Bamboo Lash lengthener over the pharmaceutical Latisse.)
• Always wear sunglasses with UV protection when in bright sunlight. It’s such a preventive for cataracts as well as other eye disease.
• Don’t smoke! Smoking damages eye cells and can speed up development of macular degeneration. Not to mention that it creates deep wrinkles around your eyes and mouth.
As always, Google organic eye care, treatments, therapies and makeup, for a blossoming world of eye nourishment.
Beauty and wellness educator MARY BETH JANSSEN is a certified mind-body health educator for the Chopra Center for Well Being and the author of five books.