Your eyes are irreplaceable. They are priceless. They are your windows to the world. Many people don’t realize that their everyday habits can put their eyes at risk. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk for many common eye problems simply by practicing some simple self-care. In addition to having routine eye tests at least every two years, follow these hygiene tips to take good care of your vision.
1.Wash Your Hands
Common eye infections such as viral conjunctivitis (pink eye) can be avoided with proper handwashing. Whenever possible, avoid sharing towels, makeup or medicated eye drops to avoid spreading bacteria to other people. Hygiene is also important for managing blepharitis (swelling of the eyelid that results in inflamed, itchy, red eyelids). Keep your lids clean and free of crusty stuff by applying warm compresses and using artificial tears daily. Blepharitis tends to recur so proper eyelid hygiene is key.
2.Give Up Smoking
Smoking is not only destructive to your lungs but it can also give you cataracts. It may damage your optic nerve and cause macular degeneration. If you are a chain smoker and quitting seems impossible to you, talk to a therapist.
Smoking also increases risk of age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eye syndrome
Smoking also leads to Uveitis which is inflammation of the eye’s middle layer.
3.Take a Break from the Screen
Staring at a computer screen for too long can make your eyes tired, sore, and itchy, and may lead to blurred vision or headaches. Once every 30 minutes, look away from the screen and keep your eyes closed for 15 seconds. Then open them and blink rapidly, this will coat your eyes with a layer of moisture.
Prolonged sun exposure can cause serious eye damage. Protect yourself by always wearing sunglasses when spending time in the sun or on a tanning bed, and never look directly at the sun.
5.Wash Your Face Every Night
Going to bed with a dirty or oily face can cause your eyes to become dry, red, and inflamed. Don’t skip washing your face before bed, no matter how tired you are. Your eyes will thank you.
6.Adjust the Lighting
Make sure that the lights in your office room are not too harsh. Turn a few off, if possible. Don’t sit with your back to an open window because your computer screen will reflect the light coming in through the window. You can also adjust the brightness of your computer so that it complements the lighting of the room.
7.Don’t Sleep with Your Makeup at Night
Excess debris from makeup can cause eye irritation and redness. Use warm compresses, makeup wipes or natural alternatives such as coconut oil to remove all of your makeup, especially stubborn mascara. To reduce puffiness, try finishing with a cool compress.
Computer screens emit a harmful ray called blue light. To mitigate the effect of blue light, you can attach an anti-glare cover to the screen of your computer or wear a pair of anti-glare glasses.
Use safety glasses or eye shields when outside. Wear goggles when and where necessary. Along with eyewear, eyewashes are also important to keep your eye-safe.
9.Take Care of Your Whole System
Healthy eyes are just part of an overall healthy body. People don’t often think of eye health in considering the risks of alcohol consumption or poor diet, but there’s a strong connection. Limit your consumption of alcohol, drink plenty of water, and each a balanced diet to give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
At regular intervals, put your eyes through a simple exercise. Stare a distant object for 15 seconds, switch your gaze over to a nearer object, and keep staring at it for another 15 seconds. Repeat this cycle 4-5 times.
Make it a habit to do this consistently to guard your eyes from unnecessary strain and discomfort.
11.Treat Your Contacts Well
Contact lenses, that is. Be sure to wash your hands with soap and water before removing your contact lens. Use fresh solution every night. If you’ve been using the same storage case since you started wearing contacts, throw it out and aim to replace it every three months. Do not use tap water to rinse your contact lenses because it isn’t sterile and contains microorganisms that can lead to serious infections. Also, when it comes to sleeping, it’s safest to always remove contacts before getting some shut eye.
Dispose of your contacts as recommended by your eye doctor. Don’t try to extend the life of your contacts beyond the approved replacement schedule. Even though the lenses may still feel ok in your eyes, the protein and mucus starts to build up on your lenses, increasing your risk for infection and inflammation. Corneal infection and inflammation mean no contact lens wear for days, or even weeks. It may even result in corneal scarring and vision loss.
12.Be Aware of Blood Sugar
Diabetic retinopathy is the major leading cause of vision loss and preventable blindness among 24-64 year olds in America who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Poorly controlled blood sugar is a risk factor. If you have diabetes, be sure to get a dilated eye exam every year.
This is an age-old and sure-shot means of keeping your eyes healthy. There are certain foods that boost your eyesight and reverse the effects of aging. Make sure your diet includes,
- Oily fishes that contain omega 3 fatty acid such as tuna, salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, herring, etc.
- All kinds of seeds and nuts-walnuts, brazil nuts, peanuts, cashews, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds
- Orange colored foods like carrots, squash, cantaloupe, red peppers, and yellow bell pepper
- Eggs, soybeans, milk products and similar vegetarian protein sources
- All the leafy green vegetables that you can get your hands on like spinach, kale, and collards
A healthy diet also reduces your chances of becoming obese or contracting diabetes or hypertension, which are a leading cause of eye problems.
Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that certain nutrients like copper, zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and beta carotene can reduce risk of age-related decline in eye health.
14.Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
No matter how much you wash them, your hands always carry some germs. Not only can rubbing your eyes lead to infection, it can also cause corneal abrasions, which are painful scratches on the surface of the eye.
15.Regular Check-up for Your Eyes
You need to visit an ophthalmologist/optometrist at least once a year. They will administer a number of tests to determine how strong your vision is or how healthy your eyes are. Based on the tests, you will be given a new pair of lenses for your glasses or medicines if needed.
Myopia has been becoming an epidemic, especially in kids. Scheduling regular eye check-up exams is the best way to ensure safety from myopia. Regular checkups can also ward off cataracts, retinal detachment, and glaucoma, all very sight-threatening eye conditions.