We take our eyes for granted, don’t we? There is not one waking moment that we do not use our vision, so we should ask ourselves, “Am I taking care of my eyes like I should?” Let’s see if you are showing your eyes all the TLC that they deserve. Read our list below and if you answer “yes” to any of these items on our list, you need to show your eyes some more love. Ready? Here we go:
- Wearing sunglasses only in the summer or in sunny weather— Gotcha, didn’t we? It’s easy to remember sunglasses in the summer, but protecting your eyes in winter is just as important. The sun reflects off the snow and can cause similar eye damage to that of the sun such as corneal burns, skin cancer and spots on the whites of the eyes. Make it a practice for the entire family to wear sunglasses whenever you are outdoors.
- Staring at electronic devices for hours at a time— “Yes” to this one as well? We live in a digital world of blue light, emitted by smartphones, tablets, computers and televisions. Some doctors think that blue light is just as dangerous as ultraviolet light. When looking at electronic devices, remember the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and focus on something at least 20 feet away. This will help reduce eye strain and prevent headaches.
- Sleeping in your contact lenses— We’ve all done this before, but how often does it happen to you? When you sleep in your contacts, you are depriving your cornea of oxygen. Deprivation of oxygen increases risk of bacteria growth and infection. Even when you are taking a short nap, remove your contacts. If you do fall asleep in your lenses, use artificial tears to lubricate the lenses and remove them about 30 minutes later.
- Not getting annual comprehensive eye exams— Chances are, if you cannot remember when you had your last comprehensive eye exam, it’s been too long. The best way to prevent a long lapse between your eye appointments is to schedule your eye exam for next year at the conclusion of your appointment. Comprehensive eye exams do not just test visual acuity, but they also provide a good evaluation of your overall health. Many people have found out that they are hypertensive or diabetic because of an eye exam. Since there are no pain receptors behind the eye, a condition such as an eye tumor or a broken blood vessel could go undiagnosed until it started causing vision problems.
- Sleeping in your makeup— This seems innocent enough, but not removing eye makeup can clog glands around the eyes and cause skin irritations like pimples and styes.
- Relying on redness-reducing drops— Drugstore eye drops can contain vasoconstrictors, which shrink blood vessels and temporarily make your eyes appear less red, but they also contain preservatives and other chemicals that can make your problem even worse in the long run. If your eyes are constantly red or irritated, you should make an appointment with your eye doctor to determine the root of your problem.
- Using expired solution, lenses, or drops— Bet you didn’t know that solution and eye drops even have an expiration date. These solutions have cleansers that kill bacteria on your lenses, so you want to make sure all of those ingredients are still doing their job. You also want to make sure that you change out the solution you put your contacts in at night. And even though it seems like a simple solution, don’t rinse your contact case or store contacts in any liquid that’s not sterile, like tap or distilled water; both have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a drug-resistant corneal infection.
- Applying eyeliner to your waterline— Even though makeup artists often swear by putting liner on the inside of your lower lashes, it’s actually quite risky. When you put liner inside your eye, you’re mixing it with your tears. If you’re wearing contacts, your lenses then get coated in tiny makeup particles, which can deprive your eyes of oxygen. And even if you’re not wearing contacts, those makeup particles can also be carrying germs that can cause infection.
- Touching and rubbing your eyes— This seems harmless enough. We all do this when we’re tired or trying to stay awake, which is fine, but it’s best to do this with your lids closed and only touch the outside of your eye. Rubbing too hard can also lead to broken blood vessels and inflammation. Another reason not to rub your eyes: your eyes are protected by mucous membranes—moist tissue that can easily collect dirt and germs—so they’re a great place for bacteria to grow.
We depend on our vision more than any of our other senses. Give some thought to how you are caring for your vision, and take the necessary steps to make changes so your eyes can be protected, rested and healthy. The most important decision you can make for your eyes is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams to safeguard your vision and prevent disease. If you do not have an eye doctor and you need to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, use our physician locator to find an eye specialist in your area (Source: Health).