The eye. It’s an important function for our every day activities because it allows us to see where we are going, what we are doing, and where we would like to be. It is one of five senses that not everyone is benefitted to have, and one that many take for granted.
I encourage you to make an eye doctor’s appointment today. Why, might you ask? Recently, a research study article published in The Globe and Mail, looked into the effects of aging eyes. The studies suggest that “the gradual yellowing of the lens and the narrowing of the pupil that occur with age disturb the body’s circadian rhythm, contributing to a range of health problems. As the eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, its internal clock. ”
Circadia-what-a? Confusing, right? In simplest terms – the article explains – that these are the cyclical hormonal and physiological processes that rally the body in the morning to prepare for the day’s demands, but also is responsible for slowing it down at night to repair and rejuvenate the body’s senses. The study was published to raise awareness about the importance of getting your eyes checked and keeping your circadian rhythms in check.
“Photoreceptive cells in the retina absorb sunlight and transmit messages to a part of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, which governs the internal clock. The SCN adjusts the body to the environment by initiating the release of the hormone melatonin in the evening and cortisol in the morning.” Now, don’t suddenly run outside, whip off your sunglasses and stare straight into the sun. That will clearly harm your eyesight rather than help it. It’s important to note, that melatonin has many health promoting functions, and studies have further proven that individuals with lower melatonin secretion, have a higher risk of many illnesses – such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Ultimately, if you can get your sleep schedule on track, then your circadian clock will start ticking again and your melatonin will start circulating once more. But it’s important to visit your eye doctor, or family doctor, annually, to ensure that your body is up to par. Find a way to get active! With age, individuals should make more of an effort to expose him- or her-self to bright sunlight or bright indoor lighting when they cannot get outdoors because older adults are at a particular risk. Start walking with a loved one or friend, invest in taking trips to warmer climates, or find outdoor games that aren’t too strenuous on the body. Stay active, stay happy and be healthy.
Sweet dreams and happy sunning!