We can all agree that maintaining optimal eye health is key. Our eyes are delicate (not to mention we only get two of them), and it might surprise you to know that there are a number of things you may be doing that are harming your eye health which you probably weren’t even aware of.
1. Not respecting the mighty contact lens
We bet you don’t know what corneal neovascularisation is. Exactly. To be honest, it’s something that all contact lens wearers should be aware of. Corneal neovascularisation is a condition where, if the oxygen supply to the cornea is cut off (say, by a little plastic disc), then the body compensates for the lack of oxygen by growing new blood vessels over the cornea to provide more oxygen to the eye. This can result in a clouded cornea and can even lead to total blindness in some cases.
So, with that in mind, if you are a contact lens wearer then you should already know that your optician’s advice is to wear them for no more than 8 hours a day, and to take longer, regular, breaks to wear your glasses instead. If you are not doing this then you are destroying your eye health and you should begin doing so immediately. Respect the lens.
2. Going zombie in front of your computer screen
Staring at your computer screen for protracted periods of time can hurt your eye health in two major ways. Firstly, it can weaken your eye muscles. As with any muscle in your body, the muscles in your eyes also need a regular work out to look their beach body best. If you spend ten or twelve hours a day staring at a fixed point, from a fixed distance, on a digital screen, then your eye muscles will not receive the work-out they crave. Obviously eye exercises do not help serious conditions such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, and there is no empirical evidence to say that exercising your eyes improves your vision. However, healthy eye muscles are more relaxed, and exercises can even help to alleviate symptoms of eye pain and strain.
Secondly, it is a well-documented fact that starting at digital screens for long periods of time can lead to an overexposure of blue light. This has been linked to the development of Computer Vision Syndrome (or CVS); a condition that is used to describe a whole range of eye strain related conditions. Symptoms of CVS range from headaches and back pain, right through to blurred vision and severe eye strain. It is reported in both adults and children, and is linked to heavy computer and digital screen usage.
We know you can’t avoid using digital screens in your daily life, but just be aware of the best ways to use them and protect you ocular health.
3. Chillin’ naked under cloud cover
Ok, we took a little liberty with the word naked. We meant ocularly naked, clearly. It’s tempting to think that if there’s no direct sunlight then there’s no need for sunglasses. You’d be wrong, though. Sunglasses aren’t just for reducing glare and looking tasty; they should also provide full UV protection from the sun. This is because UV rays can be damaging to the eye if they are over exposed to them. It can lead to macular degeneration, vision loss, and cataracts, among many other nasty sounding conditions.
During the winter, or during periods of cloud cover, these UV rays are still coming through even if you can’t feel the heat of the sun. That’s why you should be wearing your sunglasses all year round. Gotta keep them peepers pleasing.
4. Your boozy Saturday nights
We’re not victimising you! We know that there is precious little to look forward to of a weekend without taking away your bottle of red, so that’s definitely not our mission. However, it’s worth taking note of the fact that long term effects of alcohol consumption can increase cataract formation and accelerate macular degeneration. In fact, on rare occasions (and usually only after protracted consumption), you can even damage your optic nerve which can lead to reduced vision or even blindness. Not great.
5. Greasy fingers
For most of us reaching up to rub our weary eyes is an unconscious movement, as invisible to us as breathing. However, it’s sadly detrimental to our eye health. Rubbing our eyes spreads grease, dirt, and bacteria from our fingers and everything we’ve touched throughout the day, directly into our eyes.
It can cause irritation, inflammation, and (if you’re really unlucky), permanent damage to your corneas. Delightful. That’s why we’d recommend you start flushing irritated or tired eyes with clean water, or try to naturally lubricate them with tears. They’re designed to flush your eyes of any irritants after all.
6. Your closet fast food habit
More bad news for enjoyable vices, unfortunately. It’s now thought that fat filled junk food may lead to increased chances of developing AMD. We’re talking chocolate, peanut butter, cakes, cookies, and basically all the good stuff.
So, in order to protect your precious little organs, we’d recommend changing your diet and stocking up on eye healthy foods such as leafy greens, citrus fruits, eggs, and fish. These foods are rich in vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. It’s also worth making sure you drink enough water so that your eyes stay healthily lubricated, and you can keep those tears coming when you need them.
Keep an eye on these 6 habits that may be damaging your ocular health, and always make sure that you keep your presecription up to date. Using the correct pair of glasses is vital when it comes to reducing eye strain and irritation.