10 Everyday Habits That Are Damaging Your Eyesight

Eyes are the most important among the sense organs. 80% of what we comprehend is through our eyes. The eyes have many parts which function together to produce clear vision. The optic nerve of the eye receives light signals from the outside and transmits it to the parts of the brain as electrical impulses where they are interpreted and it results in vision.

Every part of the eye has its own function which when compromised can lead to certain eye diseases or permanent blindness. The different parts of the eye are the cornea, sclera, iris, pupil, the lens, retina, blind spot, optic nerve, eyelids, eyelashes, eyebrows, tear glands, and conjunctiva.

Habits That Are Damaging Your Eyesight

As eyes have an important role in carrying out our day-to-day activities, good care has to be given to them. You may not notice that certain habits can affect your eye health. Read on to know the everyday habits that can hurt your eyes.

1. Cigarette Smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking cigarettes can also affect your eye health. It increases the risk of cataract - clouding of the eye lens that makes it hard for you to see, and age-related macular degeneration - a damage in the spot near the centre of the retina, the part of the eye required for vision.

Doctors believe that smoking causes cataracts by altering the cells of the eye lens through oxidation. It also leads to the accumulation of heavy metals like cadmium in the eye lens.

In the case of macular degeneration, doctors believe that smoking causes this eye disease by interfering with the blood flow to the retina, thereby increasing the harmful effects of oxidation on the cells of the macula.

Other eye problems associated with smoking are glaucoma, dry eye syndrome, lazy eye, conjunctivitis, optic nerve damage and diabetic retinopathy.

2. Not Wearing Sunglasses

According to the American Optometric Association, wearing the right pair of sunglasses with UV protection is necessary to prevent vision problems and eye problems.

If you step out in the sun even for a little while without wearing your sunglasses, the eye exposure to UV rays can cause photokeratitis, also known as the sunburn of the eyes. This condition doesn't cause permanent damage to the eyes but you may experience symptoms like red eyes, excessive tearing and oversensitivity to light.

3. Using Electronic Devices At Night

Many of us experience discomfort when staring at the electronic screens for a long time, causing watery eyes or eye strain. This is known as digital eye strain. Overusing electronic devices expose you to the blue light coming from the screen which affects the eyes, and too much exposure can disrupt the sleep cycles, making it harder to sleep at night.

4. Not Eating Enough Vegetables

A diet which includes a variety of vegetables will promote the health of different parts of the eye. Vegetables contain essential antioxidants and vitamins that have a protective effect on the retina of the eyes. Fruits aren't behind either, as they are packed with nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, vitamin A, etc., that keep your eyes healthy.

5. Overusing Over-the-counter Eye Drops

If you are suffering from dry eyes or redness in the eyes, you immediately reach out for a bottle of eye drops. However, if you use the eye drops without a doctor's approval, it could do more harm than good. Non-prescription eye drops don't actually improve the health of the eyes, they lower the redness of the eyes, suggests the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The chemicals used to preserve the eye drops get toxic overtime causing eye irritation.

6. Rubbing Your Eyes

When a foreign matter enters your eyes, you immediately start rubbing your eyes. This may feel good for a short while, but rubbing it hard may result in scratches and distortion of the cornea. The cornea is very sensitive and can get scratched easily if something enters the eye.

7. Not Getting Enough Sleep

Yes, not sleeping enough is another bad habit that is hurting your eyes. Insomnia is one cause that prevents your eyes from getting the needed fluid circulation, leading to puffiness and swelling of the eyes.

Sleep deprivation also causes twitching of the eyes, popped eye vessels, and a rare condition called Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (AION).

8. Not Removing Or Cleaning Contact Lenses

It is important to remove your contact lenses before going to bed. During the day, the eyes come in contact with a number of irritants and your lenses may become a breeding ground for bacteria. Furthermore, sleeping with contact lenses can cause corneal infection, dryness and other irritation.
Also, cleaning your contact lenses is equally important as it may harbour bacteria if not cleaned properly with a disinfectant.

9. Not Using Safety Goggles

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 45 per cent of eye injuries occur at home because of not wearing safety goggles while being exposed to chemicals, hot grease, oil splattering during cooking, drilling the wall, etc. To protect your eyes from eye injuries and irritants, it's important to wear safety goggles.

10. Improper Use Of Eye Make-up

Beauty products like mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and eye creams are used in and around the eyes which may put your eyes under potential risk. Applying eye make-up near your eyelashes block the oil glands of your lids, which can further cause itching and infections.

Expired or worse products can also cause irritation, dryness of the eyes and other eye conditions like conjunctivitis. Throw away your eye make-up after three to four months as it becomes the breeding ground of bacteria.

Importance Of Getting Eye Check-ups
Getting your eyes checked every six months is necessary to check if there is any progressive damage to your eyes without even noticing or feeling it. For instance, glaucoma is a disease that has an impact on the optic nerve which most people aren't aware of because the symptoms don't occur in the early stages. Therefore regular eye check-ups are important to ensure eye health.