Nothing can be more true than the saying that the eye is the light of the body without which it is practically impossible to fully appreciate our world. Consciously or unconsciously, many of us indulge in several harmful habits that take a heavy toll on our eyes and consequently compromise our vision. Little wonder research has shown that about 285 million people globally are visually impaired and 14% of them are totally blind. However, this shocking statistic can be reversed as we shun some dangerous habits that are inimical to our vision as discussed below:
Cigarette smoking spells doom for every body organ without excluding the eyes. According to research, smokers are four times more likely to suffer from permanent blindness than nonsmokers and they expose people around them to some risk as well. Smoking may lead to important causes of blindness such as cataracts, macular degeneration and retinopathy by damaging the lens, macula and retina respectively. In addition, tobacco impairs the production of tears necessary for eye lubrication and maintaining healthy eyes.
2. Poor nutrition
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends adequate intake of antioxidant vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C E, zinc and copper for good eye health. It suggests adding vegetable oils, citrus fruits, nuts, fish, whole grains and leafy green vegetables to your diet as much as possible to promote your vision. So if your diet is lacking in these vital nutrients, that’s probably the reason why you are having problems with your vision.
3. Not taking enough water
If you have not cultivated the healthy habit of drinking at least 6 to 8 glasses of clean water everyday, you are exposing your eyes to danger. How? Staying hydrated is necessary for the production of tears by your lacrimal glands and tears help to keep your eyes well lubricated and healthy.
4. Rubbing your eyes
As soothing as it may seem to rub your itching eyes when irritated, it is a bad habit. Continuous rubbing can break the tiny blood vessels in the eyes leading to engorged red eyes that can affect your vision. A cold compress is a preferred alternative to soothe an itching eye.
5. Sleeping with your contact lenses
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 1 million Americans visit the eye doctor annually with infections related to wearing contact lenses. Furthermore, not only do contact lenses increase your risk of an eye infection when you sleep with them, but they can also cause permanent eye damage. Hence, always remember to take them out with clean washed hands before going to bed.
6. Overuse of eyedrops
Different eyedrops serve different purposes depending on your eye condition. However, a lot of people have abused the use of these drugs. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has warned against the indiscriminate use of eyedrops which may irritate your eyes and adversely affect your vision. If you are using prescription eyedrops, always endeavour to follow your doctor’s instructions and if you observe any irritation or discomfort due to the drug, discontinue it immediately and report to your physician.
7. Sleep deprivation
Not getting enough sleep hurts your eyes more than you can imagine. It causes dryness of the eyes, twitching as well as blurry vision with eye pain. A minimum of seven hours of sleep every night is recommended for sound overall health.
8. Staring directly at the sun
For reasons best known to them, some people are fond of staring directly at the sun, a habit which is extremely detrimental to the eyes. It’s been discovered that excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun may lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, leading causes of blindness. Arguably, wearing protective sunglasses helps to shield off harmful ultraviolet rays from the eyes.
9. Reading in poor lighting conditions
Reading or writing under unfavourable conditions such as light that is too bright or too dim may lead to excessive eye strain and pain which is dangerous for the eyes in the long term. In the same vein, avoid staring for too long at any bright screen (computer, television or phone) in the dark especially at bedtime because the levels of light are changing rapidly and your eyes could be overworked trying to keep up with these changes.