5 Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
When we’re young, it’s easy to take our eye health for granted. Seeing clearly is something that many people assume will continue until age-related circumstances begin to alter their vision. This leads many people to neglect their eye hygiene and practice terrible eye care habits throughout their life. Although there are lots of age-related conditions to be aware of, the habits that we practice have a direct impact on the health of our eyes as we age.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to ensure our daily habits are healthier for our eyes. Making a few small changes can have a massive impact on our eye health, which will help maintain our eyesight long into our later years. Here are some of the most important tips to keep in mind when caring for your eyes.
1. Always remove makeup before bed
This seems obvious, but it’s worth repeating. If you wear any makeup at all, it needs to be removed before you go to bed. Not only will you wake up with unsightly raccoon eyes, but it’s also a major source of eye irritation. It can also clog hair follicles and oil glands, leading to a build-up of bacteria.
One case that was presented to doctors at the American Academy of Ophthalmology showcased the negative effects of years of heavy makeup use with inadequate removal. The patient had been falling asleep with mascara on for more than 20 years and was complaining of pain and unusual sensations in both eyes. When examined, doctors found excessive concretions- a build-up of foreign material underneath her eyelids. The build-up had to be surgically removed as it was affecting her vision.
If you wear makeup, use a gentle cleanser to wipe off your face before bed. Don’t scrub too hard, or you may irritate the sensitive tissue around your eyes.
2. Take steps to protect your eyes when using screens
So many of us spend most of our waking hours surrounded by screens. In the United States, it’s an average of seven hours daily. Computers, phones, tablets, TVs, and other devices can cause digital eye strain, a complex condition that commonly includes symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and eye fatigue. To avoid digital eye strain (also called Computer Vision Syndrome), take steps to protect your eyes when using screens.
First, adjust the settings on your device to ensure that it’s not too bright- it shouldn’t act as a light source- or too dark. Adjust the text size until you can see it comfortably without having to crane your neck. Most importantly, get into the habit of taking regular breaks to look away from your screen. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Then blink slowly to remoisturize your eyes. This will help relax your eyes’ focusing muscles, and avoid fatigue.
3. Invest in a great pair of sunglasses
The next time you’re out in the hot sun, don’t forget to shade your eyes! We’ve all been taught about the negative effects that UV rays can have on our skin, but many people forget to protect their eyes when they’re out in the bright sunshine.
The best way to ensure your eyes are protected from damaging UV rays is to purchase a pair of sunglasses that offer protection from both UV-A and UV-B rays. Not all pairs of sunglasses have this protective coating, and those without them offer no protection at all.
Sunglasses with UV eye protection help slow macular degeneration, which limits the retinal damage that causes vision loss. UV-B rays penetrate deep into the cornea and can cause inflammation that may lead to temporary vision loss. Your sunglasses should offer UV protection of at least UV400, which means they’ll block 99.9% of UV rays. Sun exposure has also been linked to early onset of other conditions like cataracts.
4. Learn the best methods for inserting and removing contact lenses
Many people who use contact lenses are so accustomed to inserting and removing them that they neglect important hygiene tips. Even if you’re in a rush, you should never touch your contact lenses without first washing and drying your hands. Store the lenses in a clean storage case with fresh lens solution. You should never reuse contact lens solution, as it dilutes its disinfecting power.
Many people who are tired of contact lenses end up getting LASIK eye surgery. This elective procedure uses an ultraviolet laser to change the shape of the eye, effectively treating near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism (chronically blurred vision). This surgery is not covered by insurance, but many people find the LASIK costs a small price to pay for a life free of glasses or contact lenses.
5. Ensure your eye health long-term by scheduling regular eye exams
Ultimately, the only way to ensure that you’re taking care of your eyes is to have them examined. Many eye diseases don’t have noticeable symptoms, and the warning signs may come long after the condition is treatable. Fortunately, most eye conditions can be treated easily- as long as they’re caught early enough.
Having an eye exam performed is the best way to make sure your eyes are healthy. Don’t wait until your eyes are aching or your vision is blurry to go into a clinic for an exam. Most ophthalmologists recommend getting an eye exam annually.
At Abrams Eye Institute, we have an entire roster of trained ophthalmologists on staff, and we can offer services ranging from LASIK eye surgery to comprehensive eye exams and everything in between. If you’ve been suffering from dry eyes, irritation, blurry vision, or any other symptoms of common eye conditions, don’t wait until your symptoms get worse. Come in today for a full eye exam, which will put your mind at ease. We can also walk you through the pros and cons of an investment like LASIK eye surgery. Call us today to schedule an appointment.