10 Everyday Habits That Are Hurting Your Vision
Your eyesight is precious. Stop squandering it.
By Julie Ricevuto
How well you can see isn’t really something you get to choose. Thanks to the genetic lottery, we all end up with either perfect 20/20 vision, horrible eyesight that is just begging for Lasik, or something in between.
While changes in eyesight are often out of our control, and is bound to deteriorate as we age, there are some things we can do. Or, rather, not do. “Without realizing it, plenty of seemingly harmless habits could be negatively affecting your vision,” Weslie Hamada, O.D., an optometrist and Johnson & Johnson R&D expert, tells SELF. Whether it’s swimming in your contacts or lighting up for a smoke, there are quite a few everyday activities that could leave you with dry, itchy eyes, infections, or worse. The problem (beyond discomfort) is that neglecting your eye health can impact your eyesight in the long term.
Here are the things you should stop doing ASAP to help keep your peepers as healthy as possible.
1. Forgetting to wear sunglasses
Extensive UV exposure can damage the retina and ultimately put you at risk for a few major eye conditions like cataracts or abnormal growths. “It’s so important to wear UV-blocking sunglasses while outside to avoid damage,” Hamada says. So, dig those sunnies out of your bag every time you head outside—it’s even more important than you realize. If you wear contacts, choosing a brand with UV protection can add an extra layer of defense—all types of Acuvue (a J&J brand) contacts have UV shields built into them.
2. Wearing old contact lenses
While it might seem harmless to wear those one-day contact lenses on day two, you’re increasing your chances of an infection. “People tend to keep their contact lenses in their eyes much longer than the contacts are intended, especially one-a-days,” says Hamada. “Sleeping in your contacts, sharing contacts with others, or not switching your contact case every few weeks are all major offenses when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and avoiding vision-blurring infections.”
3. Rubbing your eyes
It may give you a moment of relief, but you’re also spreading dirt and bacteria into your eyes when you rub them. “You transfer germs into your eyes this way, classically bacteria that causes pink eye,” Jessica Ciralsky, M.D., a cornea specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine, tells SELF. “Eye rubbing has been linked to permanent corneal damage—like disorders known as keratoconus in which the cornea thins and begins to bulge outward—and it can also break the fragile vessels around the eye.”
Read more: http://www.self.com/story/everyday-habits-that-are-hurting-your-eyesight