Many of us go on with our days without giving our eyes much thought. Are they working normally? Yes. Do they itch or burn? No. Is there anything unusual about them? No. This is the recipe for a perfect day.
However, what we may not consider is what everyday factors could potentially ruin our eyesight. Things we might not give a second thought to, like snacking on a bag of potato chips, could be affecting your overall eye health!
Smoke in the Eyes
Ok, so maybe you did know about this first one on our list. Smoke in the eyes can be cause for concern. This is not to be confused with smoking. Yes, smoking can definitely harm your eyes and overall health.
Smoke in the eyes, on the other hand, can happen when you’re standing next to or behind a smoker and have the smoke blowing into your eyes. It can happen sitting around the campfire, and it can happen while cooking. Wherever there’s a fire, there’s a risk of getting smoke in the eyes.
For those who have experienced smoke in the eye, you know better than anyone how painful it can be. Your eyes become extremely sensitive and produce way too many tears.
You’ll want to rub your eyes until the pain goes away, but unlike shampoo in the eye, the smoke can’t be washed away.
The reason why smoke is so harmful to the eyes is because it’s full of chemicals. Natural chemicals, but chemicals nonetheless. Smoke really penetrates the protective layers of the eye and can cause infection.
The most common infliction associated with smoke in the eyes is pink eye, or conjunctivitis. Pink eye can cause eye swelling, pain, definite redness (or pinkness), blurred vision, tearing or dry eyes.
Now those are a lot of symptoms to experience all at once. Usually, the pink eye subsides within a few days without any treatment. However, if it lasts longer than that, talk to your doctor. Any infection that lasts for more than a week could threaten your eyesight.
Too Much Reading!
I love reading. If you’re reading this blog, I’ll assume that you love reading too. Unfortunately, too much close reading has been shown to cause nearsightedness, also known as myopia.
This can be especially true for children, who in school spend their days working on “close work”, like reading. When a book is held in front of and close to your face for extended periods of time, your child may risk developing nearsightedness.
On the other hand, adults in university with normal vision may see a shift in their ability to see things at a distance because of all the long hours reading and studying. The eyes are very good at adapting to their environments. If there’s no need for distance vision, your eyes will naturally focus their energy on making your near vision the very best.
This can also happen to those who partake in many “close” activities. By that, we mean activities that happen close to the eyes. Things like reading, sewing, knitting, cooking, writing, chess or checkers all fall under this category.
However, some close activities, like board games, won’t affect your eyes as much. You’re more likely to get lost in a book for an hour straight without looking up than you are during a chess game!
To counter this, use the 10-10-10 rule (just like you do with your digital devices)! Every 10 minutes, look at something 10 feet away for 10 seconds.
America’s favorite snack! It’s easy to just grab and go when you’re on the run, or just watching some TV after a long day at work. Though potato chips are the ultimate comfort snack, no one is blind to the damage they can do to the body. Everyone knows that chips are bad for you, but did you know that they can affect your eyesight?
Potato chips are very high in sodium and omega-6 oils. An excess of salt and oil will cause your eyes to dry out. They’ll become more irritated and more prone to infections because the protective mucus layer on top of the eye will have receded. It may also cause blurred or hazy vision.
There’s no need to cut chips out of your diet completely. The cravings come and it’s all right to indulge every once in a while. Bad foods can sometimes be hard to resist, so the key is moderation. When you do treat yourself to a bag of chips, make sure to accompany that with a nice tall glass of water to counter the high sodium and omega-6 oils.
Overcast and Sunny Winter Days
Sunglasses are a staple of summertime, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need them for the rest of the year. In fact, some of the most dangerous sun exposure comes when you least expect it.
You plan a trip to the beach. The news is calling for clear skies and sun, but when you wake up the morning of, you notice that there’s a bit of overcast. At least you won’t need to worry about sunburn, right?
Wrong! Absolutely wrong! Just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean that the UV rays can’t find you. Overcast is the time when people get burnt the most because they think if the sun is tucked away behind the clouds then so are the harmful rays.
The sun’s harmful rays penetrate the clouds. Though the sun may not be beating down on you, the UV rays sure are. Without the constant reminder of the sun on our skin or in our eyes, it can be easy to forget about its harmful effects.
You always need to wear protective eyewear during bouts of overcast. The sun’s rays can do just as much damage from behind the clouds.
Another time that people often leave the sunglasses at home is during the winter. The sun doesn’t feel as strong which is a big part of the reason why many people think they don’t need to wear sunglasses. Once again, just because the sun doesn’t feel strong, that doesn’t mean that UV rays are nowhere to be found.
Aside from your eyes getting sunburned, during the winter there is a higher risk of experiencing flash blindness. This occurs mostly as a result of the sunlight bouncing off the white snow. If you look at it for half a second too long, you could become temporarily blinded by the light.
This flash blindness can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. Though it isn’t a very serious type of blindness, imagine what would happen if you became temporarily blinded while driving or skiing down a hill? A few seconds could be the difference between not crashing and crashing.
Having healthy vision means leading a healthy lifestyle. Take care of yourself and your eyes will remain healthy and working in top shape!