There’s one undeniable similarity among every tattooist regardless of skill level, age, gender or experience. It’s our eyes. Without our eyes, we wouldn’t be able to perform our art. It’s said that almost 80% of our daily information and learning experiences are visual. This makes the eyes an imperative part of ourselves we need to care for. I’ve accumulated helpful information regarding our eyes and keeping them healthy and brought this information right here to you. Hope you like what you see!
Exercising is often thought of as a sweaty, rigorous process most tattooers I know liken to torture. As an exercise aficionado, I’ve learned there are many exercises which can be performed that don’t’ require a shower afterward. Eye exercises fit that category. Eye exercises should be a part of your regular workout routine or at least performed a few times a week and there are good reasons for that. First of all, your eyes are a muscle and if you don’t exercise them, they will be weak. If your eyes become weak, you run the risk of seriously compromising the longevity of your career. As your eyes weaken, you become increasingly dependent on glasses, which can be a burden. Keeping your eyes in shape can get you through long hours of tattooing without, headaches, eyes strain and itchy dry eyes.
I’ve researched eye exercises and found that there are a lot of people who believe you can actually reverse Miopia (nearsightedness) by doing these exercises regularly. The basis of which are actually age old yoga practices. Take a moment and think about how much sense this makes. India is the birth place of yoga. Notice it’s rare to see natives of India wearing glasses? I’m thinking there’s a reason for that other than assuming most of them can’t afford glasses. As an active participant in yoga for the last 18 years, it’s usually my default setting. Almost all of the videos I’ve watched have exactly the same maneuvers for your eyes, whether they credit yoga or not. I’ve found several videos on youtube which take you through this process and it’s worth giving a look. The first video features a couple of cute Indian chicks. You’ll initially work out your eyes straining to see a possible nipple through their tight little yoga shirts, (I know I did) but pay attention and you might learn something. Here is the link to that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBhUtmWI1yg&feature=share&list=FLoygANNwQcSJVF47pDXml5A&index=1
The next video is narrated by a delightful Indian gentleman who goes over everything step, by step. No nipples or fancy moves here, but again it’s helpful. The link for that video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acXS9HpPKY8&feature=share&list=FLoygANNwQcSJVF47pDXml5A&index=2
The third video I’ll recommend is very short and the narrator has a Russian accent. I like this video, because it’s quick and to the point. Also, they mention this exercise is used by Russian snipers to improve vision. How bad ass is that? The link to the Russian quickie: http://youtu.be/wnt4KP4B_V8
Just like the rest of our bodies, preserving and/or improving your eyesight requires a little more than just a doing a few exercises. Having the right kind of nutrients is equally important. I stumbled across a website at: http://www.rebuildyourvision.com which highlighted 17 different components that improve your vision and help keep your eyes healthy. They offer a free sample of Ocu-Plus which contains all of these supplements to help your eyes. I wish I would’ve viewed this site originally when doing research, because it would have saved me a lot of time. If you’re not interested in checking the site out, I’ve listed 10 supplemental vitamins, proteins and minerals below that help with keeping your eyes healthy. Most of these naturally occur and are best absorbed in the food we eat. I’ve also made up another list of 10 foods that are good for your vision and also can improve it as well.
- Zinc- I often recommend this to my clients when they’re trying to heal a large tattoo. Zinc helps with energy production and production of DNA. It converts Beta Carotene from vegetables into usable vitamin A. Your eyes need zinc and it’s most concentrated in red meat and oysters.
- Vitamin C- Consuming a solid amount of vitamin C reduces your risk of cataracts by 70%. Drinking orange juice is an o.k. way to get your daily dose of vitamin C, but you might be surprised to discover one of the most potent forms of vitamin C is found in hot chilli peppers. Other great candidates are bell peppers, guava, brussel sprouts and broccoli.
- Eyebright (Euphrasia) – Is an herb. I’m not shitting you. I didn’t make this up. People have been using this herb since around 1305. It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It also helps with improving memory. As a bonus, this can help with inflammation that occurs in those who tattoo with bad backs. Less inflammation on the spinal column puts less pressure on the disks and nerves within the back, thereby reducing pain.
- Chromium- Is something you don’t need a lot of, but there’s a link between people who have low chromium levels and glaucoma. Chromium breaks down carbohydrates and proteins and turns them into energy and also boosts your metabolism. You can find good amounts of it in beef, liver, eggs and spinach.
- Vitamin A- Is super important for healthy eyes. Vitamin A has retinoids which help you eyes absorb light. It activates the pigment Rhodopsin which is a deep purple with in the eye. Interesting that we all have purple in our eyes which we can’t see. People who are low on vitamin A generally have crappy night vision. Eating sweet potatoes and cantaloupes can help with this.
- Lutein- Is related to vitamin A and Beta Carotene. It is one of the best supplements for your eyes you can possibly consume. It’s most concentrated in dark leafy greens like spinach, but you can find them in many yellow/orange type veggies like tomatoes, squash and carrots. Seriously, your eyes need this shit!
- Selenium-Is found in soil and naturally in water as well. This is an antioxidant that’s used to reduce joint inflammation. Selenium helps our bodies absorb vitamin E better. If that’s not enough, it also boosts your immune system. The most potent form of Selenium is found in Brazil Nuts. You can also find selenium in a variety of our fishy friends as well as in garlic and mushrooms.
- Vitamin E- Is known as a super power vitamin. It’s a fat soluble vitamin that of course has great antioxidant properties. Making sure you have a decent amount of vitamin E reduces your risk of developing cataracts by 50%. You can get vitamin E in olive oil, eggs, nuts and spinach. Vitamin E protects your skin as well as your eyes from UV damage.
- Alpha- Lipoic Acid- This shit is amazing! It’s a very powerful antioxidant and I could write an entire blog devoted entirely to this stuff. Alpha- Lipoic acid is used to treat cataracts and glaucoma. It’s imperative to the protective tissue surrounding the lenses of your eyes. If you are a frequent drinker or a straight up alcoholic, taking this supplement can help hold off the some of the negative effects this habit causes. Alpha- Lipoic acid helps kill cancer, protects your brain and improves memory, but it does even more than that. Liver is rich in this amino acid as well as broccoli and spinach. Remember when mom said to eat your veggies? If you only take one supplement, this is an important one.
- Bilberry- This is well known for improving vision, especially night vision. I realize none of us tattoo in the dark, but this is good stuff anyway. The British army used to feed their pilots Bilberry jam to keep their eyes in good working order. This supplement flat out fights macular degeneration, or in other words, stops your eyes from going to shit. I’ve never actually seen a bilberry in person, so good luck trying to find these, but they’re abundant in supplement form.
If you don’t want to pop a bunch of supplements, but want to do something nice for your eyes, here are ten types of foods that are really good for your eyes. By the way, your body absorbs and utilizes the nutrients in food way better than they do in supplements anyhow.
- Carrots- I know this surprises you.
- Collard Greens and Cabbage- A little bit of soul food is good for yah.
- Zucchini- lots of lutein in these babies.
- Eggs- These things are magical for your eyes.
- Garlic and onions- I can’t even count all the good these are for your body, not your breath.
- Blueberries- These are great for relieving eye fatigue and have magical powers.
- Apricots- These protect against eye damage and have very high counts of beta carotene.
- Broccoli- Not only is it good for your eyes, but it kills cancer. You have to steam it though to get the most nutrients from it.
- Tomatoes- It’s a powerful antioxidant loaded with lycopene. This helps protects us from sun damage. Again, tomato=pizza sauce, which means pizza must be good for your eyes!
- Fish with Omega 3- This stuff is imperative to DHA and EPA which affects cellular health. DHA makes up 30% of the fatty acids that make up your retina. Tuna, Haddock and Salmon are all loaded with this stuff.
So, I’ve given you the short short version of what you can do to help keep your eyes working for the long haul, but I’ve also got to warn you about what kind of stuff is bad for your eyes. You’ve got to take the good with the bad and I would be negligent to not inform you of the bad stuff that can affect your eyes.
So, here’s a list of things that factor into your vision’s health.
- Smoking- I know the warning of how bad smoking is can be a bit redundant, but smokers are four times more likely to develop age related macular degeneration. Smoking makes your cataracts worse by 50% and increases your chances of getting them by and equal 50%. Smoking is associated with vascular disease can cause optic nerve damage.
- High Blood Pressure- I was actually surprised to find that this affected your vision, but it does.
- Bad nutrition- Having low levels of nutrients your body needs to function can have everything to do with your vision and is the most easily corrected.
- Obesity- People who are obese are twice as likely to suffer from macular degeneration and there is actually link between people who are obese and malnourished.
- Drinking- Drinking impairs the overall performance of your eyes, which includes, but is not limited to decrease contrast sensitivity, optic neuropathy and macular degeneration. Forget about your liver, think about what excessive drinking can do to your eyes!
- Sun Exposure- Just like your skin, the sun can damage your eyes.
- Race- Caucasians have more problems with their eyes. Who knew? It’s especially interesting that lighter color eyes are more prone to issues. A darker pigment concentration in the eye is a valuable protective mechanism.
- Being a girl- Apparently, research shows that women typically have more issues with their vision than men.
- Family History- Sometimes, you just can’t fight genetics.
There you have it. The shortest version I could possible compile of helpful information regarding the health of your eyes. I tried to keep the medical jargon to a minimum. I think most of this article can be summed up into one simple rule, take care of your body if you want it to take care of you. If there’s something you would like more information about, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Also, if there’s something you would like to see here at Under the Gloves, then drop some mail in my box and let me know.