8 eye care mistakes to avoid to ensure good eye health
16 August 2022
How can you protect your eye health?
Advice on taking care of our health usually centres around ensuring you eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. This is something which is talked about regularly, but an aspect of our health which can sometimes, in comparison, be neglected is our eye health. Advice on protecting our eyes isn’t really taught in schools with the same focus that fitness and keeping active is, yet most of us would agree that our sight is perhaps the most important sense of all. After all, our sight is responsible for 80% of our impressions in day to day life. We’re going to look into the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to caring for their eye health and eyesight, and discuss how to avoid them in order to protect your vision.
1. Missing regular eye tests
This is perhaps the most common mistake that people make when it comes to their eye health. You should have an eye test every two years to ensure that you are wearing glasses and contact lenses with the right prescription. However, that’s not the only reason that attending an eye test is so crucial. Eye tests provide so much information about the overall health of your eyes, from your internal eye pressure to the state of the blood vessels at the back of your eye. People have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes and even brain tumours as a result of eye tests, not to mention eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. If you haven’t had an eye test in the last two years, contact your optician to book in.
2. Staring at electronic devices and screens
There’s no denying that electronic screens are a huge part of our daily lives now. We’re pretty much glued to our smartphones and if we’re not looking at those, we’re working on laptops, watching TV, or are exposed to LED displays on the streets. Too much time spent focusing on screens exposes your eyes to high levels of blue light. Blue light prevents you from producing melatonin which is the hormone that helps you to fall asleep. Overall, this can contribute to tiredness, as well as your eyes constantly having to strain to focus on the screen. It’s recommend that you follow the 20-20-20 rule when using screens: every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a bit of a break and can reduce the strain symptoms that come with screen overuse.
3. Not wearing sunglasses
We all know that too many UV rays can cause sunburn and bring skin-related health issues such as skin cancer, but how many of us know about the eye issues caused by the sun? Too much exposure to the sun can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as eyelid cancers. You can read a bit more about how the sun affects your eye health here on our blog. Good sunglasses will block 99% of UVB rays and 95% of UVA rays, so make sure you’re looking out for that when picking up your next pair of sunglasses – they’re not just a fashion statement!
4. Ignoring long-term symptoms or issues
It’s easy to put off getting symptoms checked, particularly if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like going to the doctor. However, as with many health conditions, a lot of eye issues can be treated much more effectively if they’re picked up early. For example, if you’ve had slightly red eyes for a prolonged period, it could be a sign of an eye infection, or slightly blurry clouded vision could signal the onset of a cataract. If you’ve found that your peripheral vision isn’t quite what it used to be, then it’s possible that you are experiencing glaucoma symptoms. Ensuring that you get any unusual or new visual symptoms checked will help to protect your eye health.
5. Not removing makeup at night
The issues that come with not removing makeup before you go to bed are twofold: firstly, flakes of makeup in your eye can cause irritation and, secondly, makeup can harbour bacteria in it which then stays in and around your eyes for an extended period. You should also clean your eyelashes and pay them extra care, especially if you regularly use mascara or glue for false eyelashes. Your eyelashes can suffer from infections at their base where they grow from your eyelid, resulting in blepharitis. As tempting as it might be to just slip into bed without removing your makeup, your future self won’t thank you for it!
6. Touching or rubbing your eyes too much
If you rub your eyes too hard, you can damage the blood vessels in them, leading to bloodshot, inflamed and irritated eyes. Further to this, people often have bacteria on their hands, so touching your eyes directly can put them into contact with germs and potentially infections. This is even a way that infections like flu can spread as it gives the virus direct access to your system. If you’re going to touch your eyes, make sure you have washed your hands first.
7. Swimming or showering with contact lenses in
Although taking out your contact lenses every time you want to have a quick shower might seem inconvenient, it couldn’t be more important for protecting your eye health. There are waterborne types of bacteria known to cause severe eye infections, which are significantly more common in contact lenses wearers. This is because the bacteria can get trapped between the lens and your eye, harbouring there to cause damage to your eyes. Acanthamoeba Keratitis is a sight-threating infection caused by waterborne parasites, resulting in the need for corneal transplants in 20% of cases to restore vision. Avoid this by removing your contact lenses before swimming or showering.
8. Sleeping in contact lenses
It’s easy to close your eyes, lean back, and suddenly find you’re having a little nap, but this is an absolute no-no if you’re wearing contact lenses. Sleeping in your contacts significantly increases your risk of developing a corneal ulcer, a very painful condition that affects your vision and usually occurs as a result of an infection. When you sleep, bacteria can become trapped between your eye and the contact lens, leading to infections. Symptoms of corneal ulcers include painful red eyes, swollen eyelids and discharge from your eyes, all of which are unpleasant and can be avoided simply by taking your contacts out before having a nap.
If you’re making any of these common eye care mistakes, this is your sign to change your habits for the sake of your eye health. Your sight couldn’t be more important and making simple changes to your daily routine will help to reduce your risk of suffering with eye infections, irritation and poor vision.
If poor vision is something you’ve been struggling with long-term, then vision correction surgery like laser eye surgery or lens treatment could be the answer. Give us a call on 0800 988 6390 to learn more, or book your free consultation online here.
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