Do you value your eyes? Of course you do! But did you know that some everyday habits can harm your eyes and vision? Avoiding the following can help prevent certain eye diseases and preserve your vision.
1. Not Wearing Sunglasses
Do you put on sunscreen when you go outdoors? Sunglasses are just as important, and not just in the summer! Not only does glare feel uncomfortable, but UV rays from the sun can damage your eye lens and cornea. Exposure to UV rays can also cause serious eye problems, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and cancer.
You should wear sunglasses all year long, including the winter, when UV rays are still powerful and the sun bounces off surfaces like ice and snow.
Smoking is never a good idea. In addition to being a risk factor for heart and lung disease, smoking raises the chances of developing eye conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration (AMD). Studies show that people who smoke are four times more likely to have AMD and experience the onset at younger age.
3. Too Much Screen Time
Many of us spend our work day in front of computer screens and scrolling through our phones, then watch a movie or play a computer game in our off time. Before we realize it, we’ve spent a big chunk of our day in front of digital screens.
According to a Nielson study, screen use increased 60% from the time the COVID pandemic began, with many kids and adults spending up to 13 hours a day staring at screens. Unfortunately, this trend isn’t great for our eyes.
Staring at screens for hours can cause dry eye symptoms by reducing the number of times we blink. Digital eye strain can result from eyes working too hard to focus on screens lit with intense blue light. Headaches, blurry vision and neck and shoulder pain are common signs of digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome.
4. Rubbing Your Eyes
We often rub our eyes without thinking about it. However, eye rubbing isn’t always harmless: done often, it can damage the cornea, the transparent part of the eye that allows light to enter. Weakening of the cornea can cause it to bulge and become cone-shaped leading to a vision-threatening condition such as keratoconus.
5. Sleeping with Contacts On
*Contact lenses give you freedom, but you should always remember to take them out before going to sleep. Wearing contact lenses for extended periods without cleaning them can cause bacteria to build up between the lens and the cornea. Sleeping in contact lenses raises the risk of eye infection 8 times and can lead to permanent corneal damage and vision loss.
6. Not Getting Regular Eye Exams
Don’t wait until you have trouble seeing properly or experience eye irritation before you schedule an eye exam. Everyone should have an eye exams every 1 to 2 years, and you should visit your eye doctor more frequently if you wear glasses or contact lenses, or have a personal or family history of eye disease. An eye exam can catch serious problems such as glaucoma that have no initial symptoms.
Go ahead and schedule an appointment with Dr. Randall Ricketts at Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park. We’ll assess your eye health and vision to keep your eyes healthy.
Q: Does smoking make you go blind?
- A: Smoking is a contributing factor to many conditions that can threaten your eyesight. Macular degeneration develops more frequently among smokers and the onset is earli-er. The incidence of cataracts, which can result in blindness if left untreated, is higher among smokers.
Q: Can I take a nap with contacts?
- A: Most people who wear contact lenses know they should take them out before falling asleep. However, according to the CDC, a third of contact lens wearers admit to sleeping with their contacts at least occasionally, a habit that can increase the risk of potentially sight-robbing eye infection 8-fold. If you accidentally fall asleep with your contacts, apply artificial tears to loosen the lenses from your eyes, and then carefully remove them. Wear glasses the rest of the day.
Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Eye Mechanix for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.