Are your daily habits hurting your vision and causing eyestrain? There are lots of little habits that can contribute to pain, discomfort, and vision loss. Find out which bad habits could be hurting your vision below.
Itchy eyes are annoying, but rubbing your eyes makes the problems worse. You could put unnecessary pressure on your eyes, or scratch them. Instead of rubbing your eyes when they are itchy, relieve them with a cold compress. If there is something inside your eye that is causing irritation, flush your eyes gently with water or visit your eye doctor.
Screens are a regular part of daily life for most people, but spending too much time looking at screens can be bad for your eyes. When you’re watching TV, browsing the internet, or staring at your phone, you’re less likely to blink, which means your eyes can get dried out, red and itchy. Remember to take breaks when you’re looking at screens to give your eyes a rest. It is especially important to avoid looking at bright screens late at night. Staring at screens in dim light causes more eyestrain and interferes with your sleep.
Smoking is bad for your overall health, and bad for your eyes. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it will drastically benefit your overall health and reduce your risk of developing eye diseases that could result in permanent vision loss. Talk to your doctor if you need help quitting.
Eating a balanced diet is an important part of taking care of your eyes. Your eyes need vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy, just like the rest of your body. Choose foods with vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can be found in leafy greens, seafood, nuts, and fruits and vegetables. Water is an important part of any balanced diet. If you don’t drink enough water, your body will be dehydrated and your eyes won’t be able to produce tears that keep them moist. Dehydration can result in dry, red, and itchy eyes. Drink about 8 glasses of water every day to protect your eyes and your overall health.
Many eye injuries could be prevented, simply by wearing proper eye protection. You should wear eye protection when you are:
Use common sense—if there is a risk of something dangerous splashing or flying at your eyes, you should be wearing safety glasses.
Skimping on sleep could result in twitchy, red, puffy, or itchy eyes. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep is important for your eyes and the rest of your body. Remember that looking at screens close to bedtime can interfere with sleep, so put the phones, tablets, and computers away an hour or so before going to bed.
Wearing makeup can be fun, but you should be very careful when using it, especially near your eyes. Always wash your makeup off at the end of the day, and be very careful when applying it on or near your eyes. Applying eyeliner or mascara too close to your lash line could block oil glands and cause a build up of bacteria. It is important to replace your mascara and other makeup every 3 months to prevent the buildup of dangerous bacteria that could cause infections.
Your eyes need to be protected from harmful UV rays, just like your skin. Wear sunglasses when you’ll be outside for long periods of time, even if it is cloudy. Be sure to choose sunglasses that block UV rays, and never look directly at the sun.
As you’ve probably realized by now, the health of your eyes is directly connected to your overall health. Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure can all cause problems for your eyes, and some can cause vision loss. You can’t avoid all health problems, but getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet will help you avoid a huge number of health problems—and as a result, vision problems.
A lot of vision problems can be prevented if your eye doctor catches them soon enough. Don’t avoid visits to your optometrist. You should have your eyes checked every one to three years depending on your age and your medical history. Schedule an appointment immediately if you are experiencing pain or if a problem isn’t going away.
To learn more about protecting your eyes, visit VSP Direct or talk to your local eye doctor.