Our vision is probably our most valued sense. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to do some of the things we enjoy most like driving, watching TV, reading, painting, and more. However, it’s also a sense we often forget needs sharpening. Beyond doing things to actively improve your vision, though, like taking supplements or implementing eye exercises, there are a lot of things you do that may actually be damaging your vision. A lot of our daily lives pose a threat to healthy vision, but these seven eyesight habits are the most common and most easily avoidable!
1. Eye Makeup
Eye makeup is the one type of makeup we’re always told to throw out after a few months (typically three to four months), whether the mascara tube, eye shadow container or eye liner stick is finished. The reason for this is that natural bacteria found around the eye will be transferred to the eye makeup and continue to manifest, increasing your risk of infection.
The most commonly used eye makeup is mascara. It is most associated with eye infections because the wand comes in direct contact with potential bacteria. To minimize risk, you should do the following:
- Store mascara in a cool place
- Never apply more than two coats
- Don’t apply mascara in a moving vehicle because you risk scratching your cornea
Another thing to watch out for is lead, mercury and parabens present in makeup products. A surprising amount of popular brands have been found to contain traces of these toxic ingredients and more! These harmful ingredients can increase infections that lead to blindness and cysts. Be sure to choose natural makeup products to be safe.
2. Computer Screens
Computers are everywhere. It’s impossible to avoid them whether your job requires you to stare at a computer screen all day, or you’re a student who works tirelessly on papers and research. Continuing your education comes with risks for your eyes. These long hours on the computer can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome.
Common symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
Computer Vision Syndrome can be treated in two main ways: a special lens prescription for those who are required to do excessive computer work or through vision-enhancing eye vitamins.
To prevent this syndrome, it is important to keep the computer screen 15 to 20 percent below your eye level and reduce glare as best as possible. This would mean working in a space with dimmed lighting and minimal sunlight (which can be achieved with using blinds or window curtains).
3. Cell Phone Light
Cellphones are another technology everyone is guilty of using excessively. The blue light from your cellphone can cause blurred vision, eyestrain and dry eyes. This can be avoided by dimming your screen light, increasing the font size and blinking more often while staring at the screen.
Because tablet and phone screens are a relatively new invention, the potential long term damages on the eyes are not known, but it is confirmed that the HEV light used in these devices cause damage to animal eyes, specifically their retinas, according to this recent report by the New York State Society of Opticians. Because the long term effects are not known on humans yet, it’s best to play it safe and take precaution now.
The sun is the most damaging substance to any part of your body, not excluding the eyes. When you burn in the sun, chances are your eyes will as well, unless they are properly protected.
Ultra violet rays penetrate the cornea and can lead to a number of damaging diseases, including:
- Eyelid cancer
- Conjunctival cancer
- Keratitis or corneal burns
These are just a few disorders that can develop due to UV rays. They may seem scary, but there’s a very easy way to prevent all of these: Sunglasses. Sunglasses (preferably ones with built in UV protection) and hats are excellent and stylish ways to protect your eyes from the sun during those long summer days spent outside.
5. Contact Lenses
Once you start wearing contacts and it becomes a regular part of your daily routine, it’s easy to be careless with them. What most people don’t know is that improper contact lens care can lead to some serious infections that can lead to blindness. Though this would be an extreme case in need of medical attention, it does happen when contacts are poorly handled.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, several factors contribute to contact lens-related eye infection such as bacterial, fungal or herpes keratitis:
- Poor contact hygiene (not using contact solution, using dirty hands to put contacts in or take them out, etc.)
- Sleeping with contacts
- Extended or over wearing contacts
Symptoms of infections can include blurry vision, excessive redness, discharge from the eyes, or increased light sensitivity. This can be avoided through proper contact lens care by washing your hands before handling them, keeping them in a proper solution and taking them off when you don’t need them.
6. Eye Drops
Easy, seemingly harmless, over the counter eye drops are a big problem in vision care due to the general misuse. Many eye drops are not suitable for general use. They contain specific ingredients to relieve specific irritations and discomforts. Some chemicals used may trigger an allergic reaction, causing chronic eye redness. Even if your eyes feel dry, it’s best to check with a doctor or turn to other methods before picking up some generic eye drops.
All eyes are different. The only way to prevent this is to visit your eye doctor to discuss which eye drops would be best suited for your eyes and condition and then to use the eye drops responsibly.
Smoking has long been associated with diseases such as heart disease and lung cancer, but did you know that smoking can lead to vision loss and blindness? Vision related diseases that are increased due to smoking are the following:
- Dry Eye Syndrome
- Age-related Macular Degeneration
These are very serious diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness. If a person continues to smoke, it’ll only get worse. Of course, the best way to prevent this would be to stop smoking! For help quitting, visit Help Guide for tips and tricks to make quitting easier than you ever thought possible. A healthy lifestyle is always a big plus when caring for your eyes.
Now that you’re aware of everyday factors that can contribute to lack of vision health, you can begin to take steps in the right direction towards protecting your most valued sense. Most common vision problems are correctable, if you know what to look for. For an extra boost, check out our Ocu-Plus Formula for nutrient supplements that’ll help increase your healthy eyesight.