While changes in vision are frequently beyond our control and will inevitably degrade as we age, there are certain things we can do. Or, more accurately, not do. Swimming with your contacts or lighting up for a cigarette are just two of the many common activities that can cause dry, irritated eyes, infections, or worse. The issue (apart from pain) is that ignoring your eye health might have a long-term influence on your eyesight.
Here are a few unhealthy behaviors you should avoid if you want to keep your vision for years to come.
1. Not wearing glasses (or sunglasses)
When you forget to wear your sunglasses, you expose your eyes to the sun's dangerous UV and high-energy visible rays, causing you to squint unintentionally. Excessive squinting can cause eyestrain, which might result in discomfort. Fortunately, there is an easy solution: Wear your glasses!
When you're outside, don't forget to put on those fashionable sunglasses you keep in the bottom of your bag. They aid in the blocking of dangerous UV rays that might injure your eyes over time. Do you suffer from photophobia or light sensitivity? Sunglasses can help reduce the negative effects of bright lighting, such as headaches, impaired vision, or red eyes. Also, remember to wear them every time you go outside, even on cloudy days.
2. Using expired contact lenses
While using those one-day contact lenses the next day may appear to be innocuous, you are increasing your risk of infection. People have a habit of leaving their contact lenses in their eyes for far longer than is recommended. When it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and preventing vision-blurring infections, sleeping with your contacts, exchanging contacts with others, and not changing your contact case every few weeks are all serious offenses.
3. Rubbing your eyes
While rubbing your eyes may provide temporary relief, you are also transferring dirt and bacteria into your eyes. This is how germs enter your eyes and cause pink eye. It's a big no-no, no matter how enticing it may be. Rubbing them too hard might damage the blood vessels behind the eyes, resulting in dark circles or puffiness. Instead, use a cold compress to ease sore eyes.
It's also worth noting that if you feel anything in your eye, rubbing it away may cause the debris to become embedded deeper. Instead, attempt to blink quickly so that your tears wash away. If it doesn't work, insert a couple of eye drops to flush the eye out.
4. Using contact lenses in the pool or shower
Wearing your contacts in any type of water—the beach, a pool, or even the shower—can introduce bacteria or, in severe circumstances, an acanthamoeba into the eye. These bacteria exist in fresh water and soil and, while uncommon, can cause serious illness, including permanent damage or blindness if it enters your eye. Something like this not only causes infections, but it may also cause major eyesight impairment.
5. Misusing eye makeup.
While it may be physically painful to discard your beloved mascara after just half of the tube has been used, it is a necessary evil if it is beyond its replacement period. Using expired eye makeup might cause contact lens irritation or an eye infection. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends discarding eye makeup after three months.
A decent rule of thumb is to toss it out when it becomes clumpy. Don't add water—germs will have an even cozier place to establish themselves. Bacteria thrive in dark, damp environments, so your mascara might be a breeding ground for some terrible infections.
In ophthalmology, smoking is linked to an increased risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, both of which impact your eyesight. Smoking damages practically every organ in the body, including the eyes. Smoking has been related to eye illnesses such as macular degeneration, dry eyes, cataracts, uveitis, and diabetic retinopathy in studies. Compared to nonsmokers, smokers are four times more likely to lose their vision. The good news is that stopping smoking, regardless of age, can help reduce your chances of developing a serious eye condition.
7. Excessive screen time
There's a reason your eyes feel physically exhausted after spending all day gazing at your computer (or smartphone). Straining to see the small text on your phone may be the source of your eye pain on a daily basis - especially if you do it for hours on end, your blink rate really drops. When your blink rate begins to slow, so does your tear production rate. Without lubrication, the eyes get dry and fatigued, resulting in impaired vision. The sense of fatigued eyesight and blurred vision may last for several hours and cause a headache.
Put your phone down every 20 minutes to give your eyes a rest. Better still, increase the size of the font on your phone so your eyes aren't straining to read that little Facebook message.
8. Not using safety goggles.
Wear those goofy-looking goggles whether you're mowing the grass or working on your current home improvement project. You may think it's absurd, but according to the survey, many eye injuries occur at home while doing common duties like cleaning with strong chemicals or cooking with hot grease and oil splatters. This may appear to be a needless precaution, but the CDC claims that 2,000 employees in the United States suffer an eye injury on the job every day. Imagine the potential harm you may do at home if you attempt an activity for which you are not trained to do.
9. Skipping Regular Eye Exams
Comprehensive eye examinations can discover visual abnormalities, eye disorders, and general health concerns before you notice them. Routine eye exams are especially essential since they may discover significant eye diseases (such as glaucoma) that don't have symptoms, as well as signals of other illnesses (such as diabetes and high blood pressure) just by peering into your eye. Inform your doctor about your family's eye health history to assess whether you are at high risk for a certain eye illness or condition. Proper eye care is the key to excellent eyesight, so schedule regular eye exams.
On the one hand, your vision is probably not as good as you think. If you squint for everyday chores, you may endangering yourself and others. On the other hand, updating your prescription can help reduce the number of avoidable automobile accidents that occur each year.
10. Relying on redness drops
After a late night out, redness-reducing eye drops might be the difference between looking like a red-eyed monster and looking like a real person. However, if you overuse that little miracle worker, you may end up inflicting harm. Overuse of "take the red out" drops might have the reverse effect, causing greater redness. These drops operate by restricting the vessels; however, if used excessively, they might cause rebound redness. Stick to artificial tears—and get more sleep to avoid the bloodshot appearance in the first place.