When was the last time you thought about your vision? You take care of your teeth and your hair, skin and nails. You've focused on your waistline and your heart health.
But have you thought about your eyes and what you are doing (or not doing) to improve them lately?
No? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
For many people, vision is something of an afterthought. However, about one in six adults age 45 and over has some type of sight-threatening eye problem.
As people’s age increases, their risk for vision loss increases as well.
Many Americans erroneously believe that there is nothing they can do to make their vision better or worse so they don’t think about it. However, that is simply not the case.
There are many things you can do today to make sure you keep your excellent vision, or to make sure it does not deteriorate any more than it already has.
1) Stop playing tennis without eye protection.
Though it may not make you look cool, polycarbonate sports glasses work well to protect your eyes when you play racket sports like tennis and racquetball. The bones around your eyes are so delicate that a fast-moving ball can cause significant damage if they are hit directly.
2) Stop rubbing your eyes.
This is one of the most common ways people do damage to their eyes.
Resist the rub! When you feel something in your eye, rubbing it will only make it embed further. It can also cause tiny tears in your cornea which can leave you open for infection.
Instead of rubbing, let your tears wash away any debris or use over-the-counter eye drops to flush the irritant out. If you still feel compelled to rub their eyes, make an appointment with an eye doctor for some professional advice.
3) Stop wearing your contacts so long.
For those who wear contacts, it can be tempting to keep them in as long as possible. But don’t do it! It can cause permanent scarring, and even loss of vision.
Contacts form a protective film around them that can block oxygen from flowing to your corneas. This can cause your corneas to be more apt to break down and be open to germs and infection.
Follow the guidelines from your particular brand of contacts now to save yourself the possibility of major issues later on.
4) Stop skipping the sunglasses.
Sunglasses are not just for show. They protect your delicate corneas from the blinding effects of the sun. The glare from the sun can give your corneas something like a sunburn, even if you don’t look directly at it. This can cause temporary blindness.
When you go looking for glasses, look for the big ones that offer the most surface protection. And make sure the lenses include UVA and UVB protection. Repeated exposure to sunlight can cause cataracts or even skin cancer on your eye lids.
5) Stop smoking.
The dangerous effects of smoking are well-documented, but did you know smoking can affect your sight as well? Smokers are at a higher risk of developing eye problems like age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, uveitis and other eye problems.
6) Not visiting the eye doctor.
Some people go to school for years and years to learn all about the intricacies of the human eye. They are called ophthalmologists.
Don't think you know more than these seasoned experts. Use them!
Reviewed March 28, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
“8 major mistakes that can mess with your eyes.” WomensHealthMag.com. Web. 14 July 2014.
“8 ways to protect your vision.” AllAboutVision.com. Web. 16 March 2016.
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