Avoid These 6 Habits to Protect Your Eyesight


Ensure Your Eyes Stay Healthy by Steering Clear of Common Daily Habits

Your eyes are invaluable. They allow you to experience the world, from enjoying a stunning sunset to noticing a car about to run a red light.

Since you have only two eyes, it's crucial to look after them. Regrettably, daily habits can harm your vision.

Here are some risky habits to steer clear of and protect your eyesight.

1. Poor Eating Habits

What you eat can significantly impact your eye health. The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests that including foods high in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and potentially dry-eye syndrome as you age.

Here are some recommended foods according to the academy:
  • Vitamin C: Oranges, grapefruit, kiwifruit, strawberries, tomatoes, red and green peppers, and broccoli are rich in vitamin C.
  • Vitamin E: Almonds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and avocados are healthy sources of vitamin E.
  • Zinc: Legumes (beans and lentils), seeds, meat/seafood, dairy, and eggs are good sources of zinc.

Additionally, foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin, natural nutrients found in the retina, can contribute to eye health. Include leafy green vegetables and colorful fruits such as raspberries, papaya, peaches, and mangoes in your diet.

2. Avoiding Eye Rubbing

Some of us rub our eyes when they itch from allergies, while others do it out of habit. However, rubbing your eyes can be more harmful than you realize. The bacteria on your fingers can lead to an eye infection, and frequent or forceful rubbing can harm your cornea—the protective tissue over your iris.

In fact, eye rubbing is believed to contribute significantly to a vision-damaging condition called keratoconus, which involves thinning and bulging of the cornea.

If your eyes feel dry or itchy, consider using artificial tears. For allergy-related issues, apply cold compresses. When you sense something in your eyes, try flushing them with artificial tears or an eyewash solution.

3. Limiting Smartphone Staring

Can't resist your cellphone? Your eyes might bear the brunt.

Prolonged smartphone staring without breaks can cause problems like dry eyes and blurred vision. Some studies even hint at a link between excessive screen time and age-related macular degeneration.

Take a breather for your eyes. The advice from the American Academy of Ophthalmology includes the following:

4. Skipping Sunglasses

The sun brings brightness to our days, but it can also cast a shadow on our vision if we're not cautious.

The sun's ultraviolet rays can cause harm to your eyes. UVA rays may harm the macula at the back of your eye, affecting your ability to see details clearly. UVB rays can damage the front part of the eye, where the cornea and lens reside.

Sun damage can contribute to conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Using sunglasses is a wise method to shield your eyes. However, ensure they block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Otherwise, your sunglasses might work against you, as dark lenses can cause your pupil to open wider, exposing it to more of the sun's damaging effects.

5. Mistakes In Makeup Applying

Improperly applying makeup in an attempt to enhance your eyes can lead to health issues.

Putting makeup on the edges of your eyelids, close to where your lashes grow, can block oil glands and cause dryness and irritation. Applying makeup near the waterline, where the eyelid meets the eye, can introduce harmful bacteria and lead to infections.

To ensure your eyes stay healthy, remember to:
  1. Remove makeup before going to bed.
  2. Dispose of old makeup to prevent bacterial contamination. The American Academy of Ophthalmology advises replacing eye makeup every three months.
  3. Avoid sharing eye makeup with others.

6. Sleeping with Your Contact Lenses

Taking out your contact lenses when you're tired might be a hassle, but it's nothing compared to the potential problems if you sleep with them in.

Leaving your lenses in overnight doesn't let your corneas breathe. When your eyes and contacts dry out, trying to remove the lenses in the morning could harm your eyes. Sleeping with your contact lenses in is also a common cause of eye infections.

Even though some lenses are designed for overnight wear, Dr. Allison Babiuch, an ophthalmologist at the Cleveland Clinic, recommends avoiding them.

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