Daily Habits That Could Damage Your Eyes
10 September 2019
Is your daily routine damaging your eyesight? It’s probably not a question you have asked yourself before, but one worth thinking about.
There are a number of surprising lifestyle changes that you can make today which will have a significant role in the health of your eyes and therefore your vision. These changes are often small and easily achieved.
Read on for the top nine daily habits which could unknowingly be harming your eyesight.
Wearing old contact lenses
You’ve forgotten to pack your contact lenses for your weekend away. But that’s ok; two days in row won’t hurt, right? Wrong. This seems fairly harmless but it’s essentially playing Russian roulette with your eyesight.
This is because re-using old lenses causes the lens surface to breakdown. Dirt and debris then becomes trapped within the lens, which may lead to sight threatening infections.
Sleeping in your contact lenses
It’s late, you’re tired and energy levels are running low; but keeping your contact lenses in overnight can dramatically increase your chance of developing an eye infection.
This is because the eye needs sufficient oxygen to function properly. When your eyes lack oxygen due to contact lens overuse, the blood vessels surrounding the corneas try to adapt. This in turn causes an overgrowth of blood vessels, which may result in:
- Eye pain
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
- Red eye
- Excessive tearing
- Eye ulcer
- Irritated eyes
Swimming or showering with contact lenses
Wearing contact lenses in water is a big no-no. Whether it’s a swimming pool or the shower, it’s imperative that contact lenses are removed prior to getting into water.
Swimming with contacts in can result in eye infections, irritation, and potential sight-threatening conditions such as corneal ulcers.
When water gets into the eye the lenses will start to tighten and in turn starve the eyes of oxygen. We’ve just heard what happens when there is a lack of oxygen to the eye- not nice.
If you decide that you need to wear contact lenses during a swim, we highly recommend wearing tight fitting goggles to keep from water leaking through. Or even better, you can drop the lenses and opt for prescription goggles.
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health. It’s harmful to pretty much every organ in the body, but many people don’t realise just how damaging this habit is to eye health.
Smoking has been linked to cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy; all common yet preventable causes of vision loss worldwide.
Additionally, smokers put themselves at a higher risk of developing optic nerve problems. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. Damage to this nerve can lead to complete sight loss.
In the modern world, our screens get a lot of attention. Whether it’s a smartphone, TV or computer, it’s hard to get away from them.
Screens emit blue light rays, which have been proven to prematurely age the eyes and contribute to age-related macular degeneration; a leading cause of sight loss for individuals aged 60 and above.
On the less serious side, these blue light rays often cause eyestrain or dry eyes. Although this is not detrimental to sight, they are both unpleasant to live with.
It has been said that children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults. For children especially, regular breaks from looking at a screen are important.
For office workers the 20-20-20 rule is recommended- every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Skipping your eye test
During a study, more than 1 in 10 people admitted to never having had their eyes tested. This is shocking! It’s recommend that everyone has their eyes tested once every two years- minimum!
Routine eye tests are vital to detect existing eye diseases and conditions; however that can also pick up on various other health concerns such as diabetes, high cholesterol or even brain tumours.
Remember that half of the world’s blindness is avoidable, so detecting warning signs early on can save you your sight.
Rubbing your eyes
Seems harmless doesn’t it? Most of us rub our eyes all the time and think nothing of it. But if you rub your eyes too often and too hard it can cause quite a bit of damage.
In extreme cases excessive rubbing can lead to thinning of the corneal tissue. This of course weakens the cornea and pushes it forward, causing a condition called keratoconus. This is a common condition that can lead to distorted vision and in some instances the need for a corneal transplant.
Itchy eyes can be a sign of inflammatory eye conditions, which need medical assistance. Book an appointment at your local opticians if you think there might be cause for concern. Otherwise simple over-the-counter eye drops and washes can help to relieve irritation.
Not eating a well-balanced diet
There’s more to a healthy diet than weight control and glowing skin. The eyes need to be kept nourished in order to function properly. Important vitamins for optimum eye health include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Lutein and zeaxanthin
Incorporating foods such as salmon, spinach, red peppers, sunflower seeds, kale, sweet potatoes, chicken, beans, eggs, broccoli and pork into your recipes will help to keep your eyes in tip top condition.
Wearing old mascara
Mascaras should be replaced every 3 months.
Eyelashes naturally have bacteria on them. As soon as a makeup brush is used on the eyelashes the brush becomes contaminated.
Over time, this infected brush leads to a build-up of bacteria in the mascara tube. This increases the chance of eye infections with each use of the product.
Of course there are plenty of additional factors which contribute to eye diseases and conditions. If you are concerned about your eye health, make an appointment with your local opticians.
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