The National Institutes of Health estimates that the vast majority of the population has good vision, but there are still over 14 million people who are visually impaired. While many optical issues are congenital or a product of old age, many ocular issues are entirely preventable. Understanding your daily routine impact on your vision is integral to preserving both visual acuity and eye health.
Forgoing UV Protection
The UV radiation from the sun has long been known to be damaging to skin, and protecting your eyes from it is just as important as wearing sunscreen. UV-blocking sunglasses are a must when you are outside. The delicate flesh of your eyelids needs to be protected from skin cancer, and your eyes themselves need to be protected from a host of conditions including Pinguecula, Photokerititis, macular degeneration and Cataracts.
Sunglasses from the dollar store are not your best bet. The American Optometric Association recommends gray optic lenses that block between 75 and 90 percent of all visible light. In addition, you will want sunglasses that are free of distortion, or else you may suffer side effects such as migraines, nausea or accidental injuries. A good pair of sunglasses is an investment in the future of your vision.
The UK-based Royal National Institute of Blind People maintains that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean meats will help avoid a wide variety health issues, including:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- high blood pressure, also called hypertension
- heart disease
- some types of cancer
All of these health problems can have an effect on your ocular health. Diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy, hypertension is associated with glaucoma and some cancer treatments can affect optics to the extreme. A good diet can help save your sight, especially as you age.
Your eyes remain healthy, in part, by being bathed in tears. However, if you do not drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day, your tears can become too salty or you may not produce enough of them. This can lead to red, puffy and irritated eyes. Some people, thinking this is caused by allergies or irritation, exacerbate the problem by using saline eye drops. Keeping yourself properly hydrated is essential to good eye health.
Abusing Contact Lenses
Contact lenses are a wonderful method of vision correction, but they must be used responsibly. The thin lens covers up the cornea, which is the clear section on the front of our eyes. This deprives the cornea of nutrients from tears and oxygen. While this is acceptable for long periods during the day, the deficiency is usually made up in the evening and while you are sleeping. Wearing your contact lenses for too long can cause ulcers, infections and a condition called neovascularisation, where your eye attempts to grow a blood supply into the cornea. Wear your lenses responsibly and give your eyes plenty of time without them to recover.
Rubbing Your Eyes
While the occasional, gentle eye rub is okay, you don’t want to make a habit of it. The National Keratoconus Foundation states that vigorous rubbing, as done by those who suffer from allergies, can wear down the cornea and cause it to thin. The cornea then loses its shape, which distorts vision. If your eyes are itchy a lot, seek treatment from a board-certified optometrist, such as those at Davis Vision Center. If you wear eye makeup frequently, apply and remove it as gently as possible.
Our daily routines can have a huge impact on ocular health. By stripping away these bad habits, you can increase your likelihood of enjoying good vision now and for decades to come.