When it comes to health, eyes don’t usually make it to the top of the list. Most of us have some habits that contribute to poor eye health and vision problems; follow our tips to ensure your eyes are in good working order for years to come.
1) Too much screen time
Are phone screens bad for your eyes? You probably know that constantly staring at computer screens and digital devices isn’t good for your eye health. A digital detox almost seems impossible when we rely on screens so much for work and entertainment. Although a complete ban on digital screens might be out of the question, taking breaks and setting time limits on your phone use can help alleviate sore eyes.
Try to practice the 20/20/20 rule - every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance for at least 20 seconds. Blue light glasses can help to filter out blue light from computer screens and mobile devices. They may help to reduce eye strain and headaches.
2) Not having regular sight tests
You should get your eyes tested every two years, or sooner if advised by your optometrist. An optician can often spot potential eye infections or eye conditions before they start to progress into something more serious. If you’ve noticed a change in your vision, you should book an eye test immediately.
3) Not wearing sunglasses
UV rays still affect our eyes even when the sun isn’t shining. To ensure you’re protected on the go, always carry a pair of UV-protecting sunglasses around with you.
4) Not wearing safety glasses
DIY can be a satisfying way to change your surroundings, but make sure that you’re always wearing protective gear on your eyes, otherwise, foreign objects can find their way into your eyes and damage them. You should wear goggles when you are:
- Frying with oil
- Using chemicals
- Cutting the grass
5) Not sleeping enough
Lack of sleep can negatively impact your overall health, including your eyes. Without enough sleep we can experience dry eyes and irritation. Check out our previous blog post for more information on how sleep affects your eyes.
6) Sleeping in makeup
We already know that sleeping in our makeup is bad, but did you know it could also result in sight loss? A woman who hadn’t properly removed her mascara for 25 years suffered from subconjunctival concretions (dots on the underside of the eyelid filled with debris).
Expired makeup is another thing to watch out for. Mascara in particular, can be a breeding ground for bacteria because the eye area can transfer dirt and bacteria onto the mascara wand. If your mascara becomes dried out, clumpy or smells bad, you should throw it out, or you could be putting your eyes at risk of pink eye, irritation or a stye. If you have an eye infection, you should throw away your mascara if you’ve been using it, even if the product is less than six months old.
7) Stop overusing and reusing contact lenses
Sleeping in your contact lenses and wearing them for longer than the recommended time is dangerous. Wearing contact lenses for too long can deprive your eyes of oxygen, drying them out and leading to irritation. Daily disposable lenses in particular are only designed to be worn for one day, after which the lens must be disposed of.
8) Touching or rubbing your eyes
If you have to touch your eyes, ensure you wash and dry your hands first or you could be transferring dirt or bacteria from your hands to your eyes. If you wear contact lenses, it's especially important to apply and remove your contacts with clean hands. It's also important not to rub your eyes to avoid any irritation in the eyes or scratches on the surface of the cornea.
If your eyes are itchy, you can try applying some eye drops to soothe them but remember that sometimes overusing or using the incorrect eye drops can be counterproductive. . Follow the instructions on your eye drops packaging or use them as directed by your optician. If itchy eyes persist you should contact your optician, GP or a pharmacist for advice.
Smoking can increase the rate at which certain eye diseases can develop such as age related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts, these conditions can lead to loss of vision. Quit smoking to protect your eyes; your GP can give you advice on how to quit if you’re having trouble doing it alone.
10) Not eating a nutrient-rich diet
A diet rich in leafy greens and omega-3 fatty acids will help keep your eyes healthy. To keep your eyes healthy, make sure your diet includes:
- Oily fish like salmon or mackerel
Drinking enough water is also important. Without water, your eyes are more likely to feel dry and become irritated as a result. Including a variety of nutrient-dense food won't just benefit your eyes, it will help promote overall health.
Eating foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin will help improve your eye health and lower your risk of eye disease. Alternatively, you could try taking a supplement, but getting the vitamins through your food is the most effective way.
11) Not drinking enough water
Lack of water throughout the day won’t just negatively affect your eye health, it can also make you feel tired, dizzy and confused. Dehydration can make your eyes feel dry and, if you wear contact lenses, then your eyes will feel even drier. Try to get at least eight glasses of water a day. Keeping a large bottle on your desk (or in your bag) will make you more likely to stay hydrated throughout the day.