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Health, Dr. Mao, Santa Monica

Dr. Mao's Wellness Living: How To Improve Your Vision

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted Apr. 20, 2014, 8:49 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

It’s no secret that exercising and eating right builds a healthy body – well, the same can be said for your eyes! Protect your vision and boost your eyesight with these exercises and eye-enhancing super foods.

Exercise your eyes

These simple exercises will help you maintain optimal vision and may also keep those annoying eye floaters at bay. Perform these exercises first thing in the morning, before bedtime, or any time your eyes feel fatigued. Make sure that your hands are clean and that your mood is relaxed. Commit to daily practice and you may just see better results within one month.

• Warm your eyes. Rub your palms together to create heat, and then place them against your eyes for five seconds. Repeat this three times.

• Roll your eyes. Start by looking up and then slowly circle 10 times clockwise and 10 times counterclockwise.

• Focus. Hold a pen at arm's length, focus your eyes on it, and slowly bring the pen closer until it's about six inches away from your nose. Then slowly move it back, keeping your eyes focused on the pen, 10 times in all.

• Massage your temples. Using your thumb knuckles, massage your temples in small circles, 20 times in one direction and 20 in the other. Repeat the same actions above the mid-point of the eyebrows at the forehead, then below the eyes on both sides of the bridge of the nose.

• Take a mini-nap. Put your head back, close your eyes, and relax for three minutes. This is especially good to do once an hour when you are looking at a computer screen.

Eat for Eye Health!

Here’s a vision-ary diet to protect eye health, and maybe even boost it! Our eyes require multiple nutrients to function optimally, so start by eating all the colors in the rainbow.

• Yellow and green veggies. Antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin protect the macula from sun damage. As it turns out, yellow and green vegetables contain these antioxidants and can help reduce risk of cataracts and prevent age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Get your beta-carotene fix from yellow peppers, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots. Lutein and zeaxanthin vegetables include kale, turnip greens, collards, mustard greens, squash, green peas, broccoli, carrots, and egg yolks. Something to know: fat increases lutein absorption, so remember to sauté your greens in a little olive oil – and be sure to sauté over low heat so you don’t damage these antioxidants.

• Berry blues and rich reds. Anthocyanin-rich blueberries, grapes, and goji berries have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve your vision.

• Coldwater fish. While not color-coded, DHA is nonetheless an important fatty acid that provides structural support to cell membranes to boost eye health. DHA is found in coldwater fish like wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, and cod.

Bonus Tip: Try an herbal formula like Eyes, featuring lycium fruit (aka goji berries!) that nourishes dry, tired, and blurry eyes.

Green Recipe: Eye-Bright Juice

Put some of those eye-boosting foods to use in this age-old Chinese folk remedy for clearing the vision. Blend juice from celery, peppermint, and Chinese parsley (also known as cilantro). These three ingredients are packed with luteolin, an antioxidant flavonoid found to provide the best protection of cell DNA from radiation. Some evidence shows that luteolin helps protect the eye from UV radiation damage, as well as from glycation, a process in which sticky sugar molecules bind up protein, potentially damaging the retina. To make, blend together celery, peppermint, and cilantro with a little water in a blender or juicer. Drink this fresh juice daily to help you see well into the future!

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit

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