Your Eye Skin Needs Attention, Too!

You use your eyes everyday, and you probably want them to last a lifetime, so you need to plan on taking good care of them. That includes getting regular check-ups, even if you do not wear glasses. Our eyes, like the rest of our bodies, can tend to wear out with age, and having them looked at by a professional can help mitigate any problems that start to occur due to the normal aging process.

Regularly wearing sunglasses outside is also important to help your eyes. Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement. The right sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV rays. Were you aware that your eyes can become sunburned just like your skin? It’s true, and it is called photokeratitis.  That is a short term problem, and long term exposure can cause additional issues such as an increased possibility of cataracts or macular degeneration.

For these reasons, taking care of your eyes is important, but it is also important to take care of the skin around your eyes.  For one thing – where do people look when they are looking at you?  Your eyes, right?  If the skin around your eyes has bags and wrinkles then people will notice.  However, there is more than just the cosmetic reason to take care of the skin around your eyes.

The skin around your eyes, if it droops or pulls, can also interfere with your vision, and this is a serious problem.  The reason that the skin around our eyes tends to have more problems sooner than the other skin on our bodies is due to its composition.  It  is thinner than the rest of the skin on our faces, and as we age collagen breaks down and the skin loses elasticity.  Aside from normal activities (like rubbing your eyes, removing make-up or crying), blinking alone results in 10,000 movements per day, and each of the movements is a tiny little tug on the skin around your eye.

So what can you do to care for the skin around your eyes?  Here are a few helpful tips, and incidentally, most of them are good tips for your health overall:

  • Drink plenty of water (this is for all your skin, not just the skin around your eyes
  • Avoid execssive alcohol, which can lead to dehrydation (see above – we need plenty of water!)
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes – which is good for your while body
  • Wear sunglasses – as we discussed, this helps with the UV rays, but it also keeps your from squinting, which will increase your wrinkles
  • Use a quality moisturizer or eye cream.

You don’t need to invest in the top of the line most expensive moisturizer or eye cream to gain benefits.  In fact, you can even use a few household ingredients, and a mini food processor, to whip up your own eye cream at home.  Here is an example of a great make at home eye cream.  If you don’t have the best food processor then don’t panic, you can also make a variety of soothing eye treatments without one.

 

Grilling and Smoking Food is a Healthy Way to Cook

It is widely documented that having a healthy diet is one of the most important ways of living a healthy lifestyle and helping you to live longer and avoid sickness. While choosing healthy food to eat is obviously essential, it’s also important to consider how the food is being prepared or cooked. For example, a potato is a healthy vegetable so a good choice for your diet, however if you deep fry that potato it becomes a lot less healthy.

Smoking Adds Flavor

One of the complaints that many people will make about trying to follow a healthy diet is that healthy food can often taste a little bland and actually may not seem that tasty. After all, there is only so much steamed broccoli that anyone can eat. While variety is obviously essential, grilling and smoking food is one a healthy way to cook that also gives you lots of great flavor in your food. Smoking is the process of flavoring, cooking or preserving foods by using a wood-based smoke in the preparation process. Most often, smoking is used to prepare meats and fish, but cheese is also a food that can be flavored with a smoke technique.

Different Countries Smoke Differently

In Europe, oak is the wood that is most commonly used for the smoking of food. In North America there is a range of woods used depending on the region and the local style – although when smoking ham or bacon it is quite common to use the smoke created by burning corncobs. In asia they often smoke tea to add a unique flavor – this is done by
combining rice and sugar and heating it in a very hot wok. In New Zealand they have traditionally smoked their fish using the sawdust of the native manuka tree, whereas in Iceland dried sheep dung has traditionally been used to cold-smoke fish, lamb, mutton, and whale.

Traditionally, many farms would include a smokehouse – a small building designed and built for the sole purpose of smoking, storing, and preserving meats and other foodstuffs. This was always a separate building to the rest of the farm dwellings as the smoking process posed a potential fire danger.

Smoking Techniques

There are lots of different techniques that can be used to deliver that unique flavor of smoky goodness barbecue – best electric techniques are often referred to as smoke roasting or smoke baking as it is a process that combines the attributes of smoking with the heat transfer used when baking. In a conventional oven you can place a pan filled with hardwood chips on the floor of the oven so that the chips smolder in the heat and create smoke which then helps to flavor and cure the meat. Not only delicious and packed full of flavor, grilling and smoking foods avoids a lot of the saturated fats that many other cooking methods rely on. This means that the meals that you prepare by grilling and smoking can play an important role in a balanced and healthy diet and will help you achieve the healthy lifestyle that you are aspiring to.

Protect Your Children’s Eyes to Avoid Future Optical Expenses

Parents who are concerned about the health of their children want to do everything they can to prevent potential problems with eyes and vision. In addition to having children with healthy eyes, this may also help save your family a great deal of money over the years. There are several easy actions parents may take to protect the precious eyes of their children and hopefully keep them healthy for their entire lives. Some of those simple steps are listed here.

Use Sunglasses

baby sunglassesWhile it might be difficult to keep them on their little faces, sunglasses are a great way to protect children’s eyes from harmful UV-A and UV-B rays and simply the brightness of the sun. Make sure to read the labels on the sunglasses because many children’s options are manufactured only to be cute and do not actually have the UV protection coating. It’s worth it to pay just a little more in order to provide this kind of care for your child’s eyes. If sunglasses are difficult to keep on little ones, a wide brimmed hat can provide some help from the direct sunlight rays. However, the combination of sunglasses and a hat is truly the best form of protection you can offer.

Using Organic and Natural Shampoo

While we assume that if a label says that it is a “baby shampoo” then it is certainly safe for our babies, that is not always the case. Even some of the shampoos which claim to be very mild may contain harsh chemicals such as formaldehyde, sulfates, parabens, and other potentially harmful ingredients. To make sure your baby’s eyes are safe, use baby shampoos which are labeled as all natural or are certified organic. Read labels carefully. You may even want to go back to the basics and use only a castille bar soap or vegetable based glycerin soap, since babies don’t truly need a different soap for their hair than they do for the rest of their bodies. [Read more...]

Why Food that is Presented Better Tastes Better

398957284_0d3cdf4f64_bWhen we cook, we try to use the right ingredients, the right portions, and find the right additives that we think will maximize taste and create the best meal possible.  However, there’s one important aspect to cooking that most amateurs overlook, and that’s presentation.  We get so fixated on taste that we completely forget the simple notion that how food looks and how it’s presented matters.  After all, there’s a reason why five-star restaurants don’t just plop their gourmet meals on paper plates to serve them to people.  It’s because presentation matters, and not just for aesthetics, but also because food that is presented better actually tastes better.

It’s simple psychology that makes a more appealing dish taste better.  Essentially, the mind controls the body in the sense that if you think something will taste good; it’s probably going to taste good.  If a plate of food is put in front of you and you immediately notice that it looks appealing without tasting it, your mind is already preparing for the food to taste good, and by the power of suggestion, the food will be tasty.  The opposite holds true as well.  If you’re disappointed or disgusted in some way by how something looks, you’ve already set it up to fail, and so when you eat it, your taste buds are likely to have a negative response to it.

This basic principle that attractive looking food tastes better isn’t new or revolutionary; it’s no different than anything else in life.  For instance, if you go to a sporting event or a concert with a group of friends, you’re going to have a better time than if you were to go alone.  By being around people that you like, you’ll be in a better mood, and it’ll be easy to have a good time.  The same applies with food; merely the sight of food that is presented well and looks appealing puts your mind in a more pleasant state, preparing you to enjoy the meal right before you even begin to eat it.

For instance, as with most things in life, things that are colorful are more appealing, and a plate of food that has a variety of colors on it will make you think the food will have a variety of delicious tastes.  This is why garnishes are often added to the sides of plates, even though they won’t be consumed, and it’s why ingredients are added to the top of a bowl of soup but not mixed in, so the soup is not one homogonous color.  Anther example is things that are small and neatly shaped are generally considered more aesthetically appealing, which is why up-scale restaurants will serve smaller portions and use various kitchen utensils to make sure the food is neatly shaped.  By doing this, patrons believe the food will taste good before they even take the first bite.

We are so easily fooled into thinking that taste is all that matters when it comes to food, but like everything else in life, it’s important to please all five senses.  Not only does taste matter, but how it smells, how it looks, and how it feels are all factors in how something tastes.  If your other four senses are pleased while you’re eating, your sense of taste will be pleased as well, which is why food that is presented better is sure to taste better.

Image Credit Flickr User GailF548

How To Pick the Right Frames for Your Glasses

Nobody likes being told that they need glasses, but if an eye doctor says that you need them, you should probably get them.  But instead of getting upset that you need to wear glasses, look at it as an opportunity to give yourself a new and improved look by picking out the right frames.  Glasses nowadays can be quite stylish and fashionable, and wearing them does not mean that you can’t look your best.  If you can pick out frames that suit you, you’ll not only look good, but you’ll also be able to see clearly, which can be nice too.  Here are some pointers to help you find the right frames for your glasses.

The first step in picking the right frames is assessing the shape of your face, because there are seven different facial shapes and certain frames will only work with certain facial types.  Oval faces will work with any style frames; oblong faces require square-shaped frames that add width to the face; triangular faces should be accompanied by light colors and invisible top rims; diamond faces should have distinctive frames that stand out, such as cat-eye shapes; square faces should have narrow frames; round faces should have frames that are wider than they are deep; and pyramid faces should have frames with attention-getting details above the lenses.

Once you know the style of frames that best fit your face, the next step is to find frames that best fit you based on skin tone and hair color.  Skin tones are either cool, which has blue and pink undertones, or warm, which has a yellow cast.  Glasses frames should always match skin tone, so deciphering your skin tone will help you figure out which color of frames you should consider.  Hair color works the same way, being categorized as either cool or warm.  Unless you dye your hair an unnatural color, hair and skin tone will usually blend together well, and you should find frames that complement that combination.  Colors for frames that work with cool people include silver, plum, black, magenta, and rose-brown.  For warm people, the colors to look for include gold, peach, khaki, orange, coral, red, and off-white.

One final factor to consider is the material used to make the frames.  There are two main options: plastic and metal.  Plastic frames are lighter and will cost less, although there will be no shortage of colors available, so choosing plastic shouldn’t limit your options with regard to color and style.  The biggest downside to plastic frames is that they are not always durable, which means they’ll have to be replaced if they break.  On the other hand, metal frames are for people looking for an extremely lightweight frame.  They are also more durable than plastic frames and should last longer without having to be replaced.  However, one potential downside of metal frames is that they are so thin that your lenses can look abnormally big, especially if you have a strong prescription, which is something you may be looking to avoid.

With all this in mind, the best thing you can do is to go out and explore your options.  There are a multitude of places where it’s possible to buy glasses; drugstores will have frames, as will eye doctors and chain stores that treat vision problems.  Warehouse stores, department stores, and perhaps even specialty stores will also have frames available.  Once you figure out the style and color of frames you should be looking for, there should be plenty of options at your fingertips, so go out and try on a few until you find frames that look on you, are comfortable to wear, and most importantly help you see the world clearly.

How to Choose Reading Glasses

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On the surface, picking out reading glasses may seem like nothing more than a minor detail or just another errand, but it’s actually something that deserves a fair amount of attention and should be taken seriously.  After all, reading glasses aren’t something that you’re going to be replacing or updating that frequently, unless your eyesight really heads south, so whichever reading glasses you choose you’re likely to have for quite a while.  In that sense, choosing reading glasses is a decision that deserves some thought.

One of the first things to consider with reading glasses is the style.  There are full reading glasses, which are designed for people who spend large periods of time with close-up reading materials.  Full reading glasses are not a good fit for people who move back and forth quickly between distance and close ups, as anything that isn’t close up will appear blurry.  If that were the case, half-eye reading glasses would be a better fit, as they provide a good balance between what’s across the room and what’s right in front of you.  Of course, half-eye reading glasses are generally the first step in moving onto bifocals.  Another style of reading glasses is magnifiers, which are a cheap steppingstone towards reading glasses.  Magnifiers are small and are best for people whom are resistant to getting reading glasses and only need them on rare occasions, such as reading restaurant menus.

Outside of figuring out a style, it’s important to determine whether you can pick up reading glasses over the counter from a drugstore, or if you would be better off seeing an ophthalmologist and getting a prescription.  A general practitioner or a family doctor can usually tell you if you can get by with non-prescription reading glasses from a drugstore.  However, if you have problems with your vision that go beyond trouble reading, a trip to the eye doctor will be necessary; otherwise, choosing a pair of reading glasses from a drugstore should work.

Of course, even if you can get non-prescription glasses from a drugstore, there is a downside to going that route.  For instance, there can be imperfections in the lens quality of reading glasses that are commonly found in non-prescription glasses.  Even if you can’t notice a difference with the naked eye, it can affect you while you’re using the reading glasses, causing your eyesight to deteriorate faster.  Choosing reading glasses that are the proper strength can also be difficult without first seeing an eye specialist.  Finding the correct strength can take time, and there can be side effects such as headaches or eye irritation if you end up with lenses that are either too strong or too weak.

Finally, there is the fashion element of reading glasses.  This may not be a high priority for everybody, especially with reading glasses that won’t necessarily be worn on a regular basis or in public places, but choosing reading glasses with a stylish frame or frames of a certain color can be important for some people.  Naturally, the selection of frames at a drugstore won’t be as large as it is at places that specialize in eyewear.  Of course, this should only be the final step in the process of choosing reading glasses, as there are far more important things to consider than fashion when choosing reading glasses.

Easy Ways to Make Eye Dr Appointments fun for Kids

A child’s health should be monitored closely, especially during the first few years of his or her life.  However, one aspect of a child’s health that is sometimes easy to overlook is eye health, which is important but is often times not made a priority or not recognized early enough.  Knowing when to take a kid to the eye doctor is important, and there are a few things that parents need to know about the eye health of their child.

A child’s eyes should be checked soon after birth, at six months, at three years, and then before they start school around age five.  A pediatrician can perform these routine checkups, and if everything appears to be fine there likely won’t be any need to further examine a child’s eye.  However, that’s not always the case.  If there’s a problem, even a minor one, a young child should be taken to an eye specialist, as a majority of eye conditions, including many instances of blindness, are preventable, but only if they are spotted and treated early, which is why taking a kid to the eye doctor for any issue is of the utmost importance.

If there is a family history of vision problems, even if it’s something as simple as one or both parents needing glasses, it may be wise to take a child to the eye doctor for an exam, even if the child’s pediatrician doesn’t spot a problem on a routine checkup.  It’s best to schedule an eye exam during a time of day when you know your child will be alert and in a good mood.  It’s also a good idea to prep your kid for the exam, as eye specialists can sometimes perform tests that may seem a bit invasive to a child and make them uncomfortable or agitated, especially if they haven’t experienced those types of tests before.

If your child hasn’t had a full eye exam by the time they start kindergarten, then it may be the best time to take them.  In fact, many states require a kid to have an eye exam before entering school for the first time, so it may be mandatory anyway.  If there is an issue with a child’s eyes, even a minor one, it’s best to find out about it and hope to fix it before they start school, as letting an issue with a child’s eyes go untreated could have adverse effects on their performance in school once they get there.

Of course, if at any point during the early years of a kid’s life there are symptoms spotted, an appointment with an eye specialist should be made immediately.  Some common symptoms that parents may notice include poor hand-eye coordination, frequent rubbing of the eyes, a lazy eye, frequent squinting, frequent headaches, difficulty keeping eye contact, and frequently tearing up.  Once a child starts going to school, parents should be on the look out for poor performance, difficulty concentrating, and trouble reading, especially with losing their place while reading, as these could be symptomatic of an eye problem and not necessarily the fault of the child.

Conditions like lazy eye, a drooping eyelid, and nearsightedness are all common eye conditions that affect children of young ages.  In addition to looking out for symptoms, parents need to know when they should take their child to the eye doctor for the sake of the overall health of the child.

Should You Get Glasses?

It’s never easy for a person to admit to his or herself that they may need glasses.  But if you need them, you should get them, because as frustrating as it can be to have your eyes let you down, it can be even more frustrating not being able to see things clearly.  Here are some steps to take that will help you know whether or not you should get glasses.

First off, you should be on the look for some telltale signs that there’s something wrong with your vision.  If you suffer from frequent headaches, notice yourself straining your eyes, often feel like you have tired eyes, or have frequent difficulty concentrating, it could be symptomatic of vision issues that could be solved by wearing glasses.  If you experience any of these symptoms while reading, then a problem with your eyes would become a much more likely possibility, and you’d be wise to see an eye specialist and explore getting glasses.

glasses

There are also a few more subtle signs that you should consider getting glasses.  Poor vision at night, especially if you’re driving or doing something else in which having good vision is vital, can be a sign that you need glasses.  If you find yourself sitting closer to the television than you used to or making sure you sit within the first few rows when you go to the movies, it could be your body telling you that your vision is declining and you should be wearing glasses.  Another symptom that seems innocuous but could actually be a sign that glasses are necessary is seeing floating spots mixed in with your vision.  If this is a common occurrence, it may be an issue that only glasses are able to permanently fix.

If you’re hesitant to see an eye doctor and resistant to the idea of glasses, you may want to test your vision at home before exploring the possibility of glasses.  You can take turns covering each eye with your hand (but make sure not to press down hard), and with one eye see if you can read words from far away.  If the words are blurry or fuzzy, it’s probably a sign that you should explore getting glasses.  Of course, before you go to the eye doctor, it may be worth it to buy the letter posters that are seen in doctor’s offices and used for examining eyes.  Looking at those posters, if you’re able to read all of the letters then you shouldn’t worry about needing glasses too much.  However, if you can’t read the entire chart, even the bottom few lines where the letters are generally quite small, then you should get tested by an eye doctor to see if he or she recommends glasses.

If you have any difficulty seeing at any time, or have any common eye symptoms, it’s best to get checked out by an eye specialist and have him or her tell you whether you should get glasses.  Of course, if they recommend that you start wearing glasses, the best thing to do is to take their advice and get them.  Your eyesight is an important part to your quality of life, especially when you get older, and if there’s a problem with your vision it’s not going to get better if left untreated.  If getting glasses is going to make things easier for you in any way, and you’ve seen an eye doctor, then you should get glasses; there’s no good reason not to.