Some eye conditions are hereditary, but many are a result of poor ocular care and bad habits. You may be surprised to find that things you do each and every day might actually be damaging your eye sight.
Here are a few bad eye habits you should break in order to protect your vision for years to come.
Not Wearing Your Sunglasses
When you forget to wear your sunglasses, you’re exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful UV and high-energy visible (HEV) rays which can prematurely age and damage your eyes and skin around the eyes. Extended periods of exposure can lead to sunburn on the front surface of the eye (photokeratitis), dry eye, and general irritation. Chronic or long-term exposure to harmful UV rays have been linked with early development of cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula and pterygium. UV exposure can also damage the surrounding tissue and is linked to skin cancer of the eyelid. To protect your eyes be sure to wear sunglasses that block 100% of the sun’s UV rays. The glasses will have a label of UV 400 to show that they block UV radiation. Even on overcast days UV rays are able to be strong enough to cause damage so please always where sunscreen and sunglasses when outdoors.
Smoking harms almost every part of your body – including your eyes. Research has linked smoking to eye diseases such as macular degeneration, dry eyes, cataracts, uveitis, and diabetic retinopathy. Smokers are four times more likely to lose their vision compared to people who do not smoke. The good news is that quitting, no matter what your age, can help reduce your risk of developing a serious eye condition.
Rubbing Your Eyes
The skin around your eyes is very delicate. Rubbing your eyes can actually break the tiny blood vessels that are under the skin’s surface and cause dark circles or a puffy appearance. Regular eye rubbing over an extended period of time has been linked to a condition known as keratoconus. Keratoconus causes a thinning of the cornea and results in the cornea losing its shape. This condition can lead to blurry vision and sometimes cannot be fully corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Instead of rubbing the eyes we can evaluate why your eyes may itch in the first place. Conditions such as allergies or dry eye may cause the eyes to feel itchy and it can be remedied with medication prescribed by your eye doctor.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
It’s called beauty sleep for a reason: not getting enough rest can cause red, bloodshot eyes as well as dark circles, eye spasms, dry eyes and blurry vision. Not getting enough rest not only affects your vision, but it can affect your overall health as well.
Not Eating a Healthy Diet
If you aren’t incorporating enough fruits and vegetables into your daily diet then you’re probably not getting the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids necessary for optimum eye health. A diet rich in colorful fruit, leafy greens, and fish are all essential to keeping your vision healthy. Eating properly balanced foods for eye health can help prevent or manage many age-related eye diseases.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Not drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water per day and eating a high-sodium diet can cause your body to become dehydrated, and in turn may cause your eyes to not produce enough tears to keep them moisturized and properly nourished. Dry eyes, red eyes and puffy eyelids can all be a result of dehydration.
Not Having Regular Eye Exams
Comprehensive eye exams can detect vision problems, eye diseases, and general health issues before you even realize that they exist. Routine eye exams are especially important because certain vision-stealing diseases such as glaucoma often have no warning signs until there is a permanent, irreversible loss of vision. Be sure to alert your doctor of your family’s eye health history to help determine whether you are at high risk for a particular eye disease of condition. The key to good eyesight is proper eye care so don’t forget your regular eye exams.
Contact the eye doctors at Washington Eye Physicians & Surgeons to learn more about bad habits for eyes.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.