There are many things people do that can wreak havoc on their eyesight.
From falling asleep with your contact lenses on to using old products which can be laden with infection-causing bacteria, it is very important to avoid doing anything which could damage your eyesight.
According to the American Optometric Association, taking care of your vision does not just involve regular visits and routine check-ups.
The following could lead you to experience eye health issues and may be things to consider doing in moderation or avoiding altogether.
1. Not using sunglasses.
Wearing sunglasses helps to protect your eyes in more ways than one. Sunglasses help to filter light and protect against damaging UV rays from the sun. According to Prevent Blindness America, sunglasses help reduce glare from the sun and good ones filter out almost 100% of its potentially harmful ultraviolet light.
Constantly exposing eyes to UV rays can harm the cornea, the lens, and/or the retina–regardless of the time of year. The appropriate type of sunglasses should be discussed in detail with an optometrist because each individual has unique needs.
2. Overexposure to electronics.
Let’s face it: today people are hooked up to electronic devices more so than ever before. Eyestrain is a repetitive injury known to be caused by insufficient rest periods, improper working conditions, and glare from the screens of electronic devices.
Glare can lead to eye muscle fatigue–when this happens, it is hard for the eyes to decipher what is on the screen. There are many ways to alleviate eye strain and these include: positioning computer screens properly, resting the eyes for adequate periods of time while using electronics, changing eye focus, blinking, and mitigating glare on electronic screens.
3. Sleeping with your contact lenses on.
Even though there are contact lenses designed specifically for “extended wear”, ophthalmologists advise against wearing contacts overnight. The cornea, which is the outermost clear layer of the eye, receives all of its oxygen from the outside environment. Wearing contact lenses overnight prevents oxygen from reaching the eyes, sometimes resulting in a corneal ulcer.
Corneal ulcers can cause blurred vision, painful and watery eyes, redness, itching, discharge, and a white patch on the cornea. It is important to take your eye health seriously and to follow recommendations of your optometrist–vision is something you should never take for granted.
4. Redness-reducing eye drops.
Over-the-counter eye drops lubricate the eyes but shrink blood vessels in order to make redness disappear. These drops reduce redness but do not alleviate the cause.
Sometimes using redness-reducing eye drops can actually have a rebound effect, particularly if overused; it is best not to use them at all, or limit application to no more than four times per day.
Your optometrist can recommend natural eye drops that will lubricate without added chemicals.
5. Falling asleep with make-up on.
After a long day, it can be very tempting to fall asleep with your make-up on. Make-up left on overnight, however, creates an increased risk of infection. Small particles from cosmetics can get into the eyes and cause irritation.
Before going to bed at night, it is very important to use a gentle make-up remover to take off eye shadow, mascara, liner, and any other products.
Avoid rimming your eyes with liner–the potential for bacteria being transferred from the pencil into your eye is considerable.
6. Expired contact lenses and eye drops.
Contact lenses have an expiration date, just like any other prescription. Though contact lenses are sealed in airtight containers, it is possible with time that the seal can become compromised, allowing the lenses to become contaminated.
The expiration date on a package of contact lenses indicates the last month and year they are safe to use and they should be discarded after that time.
This is even more true of eye drops, for contacts and otherwise: the solution in the container includes antibacterial agents that have a definite shelf life.
7. Skipping your annual eye exam.
Most optometrists recommend a yearly eye examination. It is very important to not skip it because it ensures your eyes are healthy and there are no issues. An eye exam can uncover symptoms of disease which might otherwise go unnoticed, such as diabetes, glaucoma, and brain tumor.
Children should begin receiving a yearly eye examination from the age of three. Adults with no prior or family history of eye disease and with good vision are advised to have an eye exam every two to three years while under the age of forty. After forty, it is a good rule to have an eye exam every year and a half, unless you are diabetic or have eye health issues that need to be more closely monitored.
8. Excessive or aggressive eye rubbing.
It can be extremely difficult to avoid rubbing your eyes, especially if they are itchy or tired. Rubbing the eyes can transfer bacteria from the hands into the eyes and cause infections, inflammation, and conjunctivitis.
If you have a cold or allergies and find it hard to stop scratching your eyes, at least get into the habit of washing your hands frequently to eliminate bacteria and other debris which could cause your eyes to become irritated or infected. Use a simple saline rinse to provide soothing no-contact relief.
9. Accidental trauma
There is a wide array of activities in which people engage on a daily basis that could damage their eyesight. Working around the house using harsh chemicals, mowing the grass, or grinding on metal without eye protection means you are exposing yourself to potential trauma. It is very important to wear protective eye gear while you are doing anything that could result in damage to your eyes.
10. Not taking proper care of your health.
Many people do not realize how important it is to take care of overall health. What may seem disconnected conditions are not necessarily so. Managing cholesterol and blood pressure and regular health screenings can help protect your vision. Chronic high blood pressure or diabetes that goes undiagnosed can lead to vision complications and even blindness.
It is important to know about the different things that could potentially damage your eyesight. Eating nutritious foods, taking care of your health, and going for regular eye examinations are all vital to maintaining healthy vision. By being observant and doing what is necessary to take care of your eyes, you can avoid complications or health issues that could have a negative impact on your sight. When you take care of your body, it will take care of you.