How Your Daily Habits Might Be Damaging Your Eyes
We all have bad habits, but even habits that don’t seem so bad can cause damage to our eyes. In this blog, we look at some of the worst habits that may damage your eyes and look into ways you can minimise the damage to keep your eyes healthy.
Bad Habit 1: SMOKING
We all know that smoking is bad for your health in so many ways, not just for your eyes. You may be thinking, ‘how does smoking damage my eyes?’ In simple terms, apart from the negative side effects your body experiences from smoking, the smoke damages your eyes. Previous research clearly confirms that smoking increases the risk of AMD 9 Age-related Macular Degeneration). AMD is usually an age-related disorder affecting 50-60-year-olds and causes problems in the middle part of vision making things like reading and recognising faces difficult. The studies showed that the rate of AMD in smokers is 4 times higher than in non-smokers and on average presented 5 years earlier. Smoking reduced the effectiveness of antioxidants and depletes the levels in the macular area.
Bad Habit 2: TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME
How much time do you spend each day looking at a screen? How many times are you looking at two different screens whilst watching TV or looking at your phone? Excessive screen time causes dry eye syndrome. When our eyelids are shut, they slide, on a compound made up of oil, water and mucous, across the ocular surface of the eye so lubricating the eye. Dry eye syndrome occurs when the compound evaporates at an accelerated rate, so the eye becomes "dry". Certain medical conditions also cause it. Those affected describe their eyes as irritated, scratchy, sore, red, or painful.
You should blink once per 10 seconds to keep your eyes lubricated. Breaking this bad habit can be difficult in our modern lifestyle but you may want to consider taking a break every 20 minutes, having time away completely away from the screen and lowering your screen brightness.
Bad Habit 3: NOT WEARING SUNGLASSES
It is important to protect our eyes from UV light. Just as our skin gets damaged from UV light, it can also damage the eye's surface tissue, cornea, and lens. Over time the damage can contribute to conditions such as cataracts, AMD, and eye cancer. Your eyes can also develop sunburn, it is called photokeratitis and is extremely painful.
To avoid getting photokeratitis it is recommended that you always wear good pair of sunglasses with 100% UV protection when the sun is out in full force!
Bad Habit 4: LEAVING YOUR CONTACT LENSES IN
Lenses are so easy to use yet remembering to take them out can sometimes seem like a complex task. Leaving your contact lenses in for an extended period can lead to a risk of infection. This can cause permanent scarring to the cornea and even loss of vision. A study in Mortality Weekly Report claims 1 in 3 contact lens wearers admit to sleeping without removing their lenses first. This bad habit can lead to serious eye damage, remember to take the time to remove your contact lenses before you go to sleep.
Bad Habit 5: RUBBING YOUR EYES
There is no harm in rubbing your eyes occasionally, we all do it when we're tired or trying to concentrate. However, if you aggressively and frequently rub your eyes you can cause damage to your cornea. There is an uncommon condition, associated with the act of rubbing your eyes called Keratoconus. This is when the cornea thins out and begins to bulge outwards into a cone shape making your vision blurry and distorted. The occasional eye rub will move tears from your tear gland to help remove something in your eye, but it is better to use eye drops or a hot cloth over the eye, as this is much gentler and less damaging.