Out of the five senses, people consider their vision as the most important.
While the other four do play crucial roles in human survival, the sense of sight comprises 80 percent of everything a person perceives. In fact, people rely on their vision the most in protecting themselves against harm should the other senses fail.
But even with this knowledge, many individuals do things that can harm their eyesight. What makes things more complicated is that even common and seemingly insignificant habits lead to eye damage.
Here, you will learn how you can prevent hurting your eyes, starting with the seven everyday habits you need to avoid.
1. Eye Rubbing
Eye rubbing is quite common in children, but a lot of adults do it, too.
While it may offer a moment of relief, rubbing your eyes when they are itchy or feel like something has come into contact with them does more harm than good.
In fact, eye rubbing can even lead to keratoconus, a condition where the cornea starts to bulge outward and may lead to permanent damage. This habit can also break the fragile blood vessels around the eyes.
When you experience discomfort in your eye or feel like something is in it, don’t try to rub it away. This can make any debris present go deeper, scratching the eye surface in the process.
Instead, blink as fast as you can to produce more tears that will wash it away naturally. If this doesn’t work, you can also use eye drops to flush it out.
2. Failing to Wear Eye Safety Gear
The eye tissues are quite sensitive to many things – from the sun’s rays to chemicals and airborne debris. This is the primary reason why wearing safety glasses is required for certain types of work.
According to an eye health and safety organization, 90 percent of around 800,000 eye injuries recorded every year could be prevented with proper eyewear. This means that you must never forget to put on the correct eye gear during situations that may expose your eyes to irritants.
Participating in snow sports? Always wear snow goggles. Doing a science experiment? There’s a special pair of safety glasses made for that.
Even working on the computer for extended hours can lead to eyestrain, so be sure to wear computer glasses whenever necessary.
Smoking is notorious for being bad for your respiratory health, but did you know that it can also harm your vision?
Generally, smoke from any source can hurt and irritate the eyes. However, tobacco smoke contains chemicals that can trigger tears that work to protect your eyes, so it can feel painful or irritated and may lead to dry eyes.
Research has also shown a connection between smoking and specific eye diseases, like cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and uveitis. Smokers are also four times more likely to suffer from vision loss compared to non-smokers.
Fortunately, quitting effectively lowers this risk, regardless of your age. It can also help you avoid other health issues.
4. Not Using Contact Lenses Properly
Contact lenses are relatively more convenient to use than glasses, but only when you stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
This means you must never wear one-day lenses for two days or more, as doing so can increase the possibility of infection. Avoid wearing your contacts while sleeping. You should also treat it like you would any personal wearables and never share them with others.
Remember to follow instructions for cleaning and storage. Replace your contact lens case every few weeks and keep it sterile to prevent contamination.
5. Makeup Misuse
Wearing makeup is not inherently bad for your eyes, as long as you don’t misuse it.
One example of this is applying makeup too close to the lash line. Eyeliners or mascara can block the oil glands that may lead to bacteria buildup and infection. Don’t forget to wash it off at the end of the day, too.
You must never use expired makeup as well. Makeup should be discarded three months after opening, whether used frequently or not, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Some might say that it’s okay to use mascara and eye shadows for six months or more, but it would be best to err on the side of caution.
Here’s a good rule to follow: Once the product becomes clumpy, take it as a sign that it needs to be replaced. Never add water to loosen those lumps, as it would only make your makeup a more viable breeding ground for bacteria.
6. Spending Too Much Time Staring at a Screen
Today, almost all people have developed a habit of using their smartphones, tablets, or computers all the time. However, too much screen time can lead to eyestrain.
Although you can wear computer glasses, the better solution against eyestrain is resting your eyes.
You see, when you read small texts or focus on items on tiny screens, you’re flooding your eyes with blue light. This also leads to a lower blink rate, which means tear production is also compromised.
When this happens, your eyes lack the lubrication they need to stay clear and could lead to dry eyes. So, while it’s exciting to shop for affordable designer handbags online to add to your collection, you have to be careful not to do it continuously for extended periods.
Take a break and follow the 20-20-20 rule: Look at something at a 20-foot distance away from the screen for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of screen time. This should help your eyes readjust and relax at certain intervals throughout the day.
7. Avoiding Eye Checkups
Many eyesight issues could be easily prevented or treated quickly if diagnosed early. This is why you should never skip scheduled visits to your eye doctor.
Be sure to have your eyes checked at least once every year or in three years, depending on your family history and age. If you’re experiencing eye pain that isn’t going away, schedule your visit immediately.
Correct Bad Habits
Habits can be hard to break, but if it’s for your health, then you should work hard to correct them. Take note of the common bad habits listed here and try to change them to take better care of your eyes.