By – Dr. Tushar Grover, Medical Director, Vision Eye Centre, New Delhi
A bad eyesight may be a result of habits and lifestyle choices as well as preexisting health conditions. A confluence of factors including genetics, age, and your personal environment can affect your vision. While people may correct their vision by just getting a pair of glasses or contact lenses, they tend to ignore other steps that are essential to take care of their eyesight.
As the world gets surrounded by screens, it is easy to develop bad habits that may contribute to poor vision. According to a WHO report, at least 2.2 billion people across the world have a near or distance vision impairment. In at least 1 billion – or almost half – of these cases, vision impairment could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed.
This article is an attempt to help you notice these habits and break them, to maintain a healthy vision for the rest of your life.
Too much smartphone use
Smartphones can strain your eyesight and cause vision problems if you are using them for hours daily, especially if you try to read small text on your mobile phone screens too often.Just like smartphones, prolonged exposure to laptop screens can also harm your eyes as the light emitted from these screens can cause dry eye, headache and eye strain. Too much exposure to screens can cause blurry and unclear vision.
While there are many reasons you shouldn’t smoke, including increased risk of throat and lung cancer, you need to ‘kick the butt’ as it can cause vision problems also. Smoking cigarettes and other forms of tobacco has been linked to serious conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts that can even lead to blindness!
Not wearing sunglasses
You may be exposing your eyes to harmful UV rays if you do not wear sunglasses regularly while stepping outside. These harmful rays can cause vision problems, and also invite other eyesight issues as well such as macular degeneration and eye cancer! Even if you are wearing contact lenses, sunglasses can act as a barrier between your eyes and outside air which may be loaded with harmful pollutants.
Frequent rubbing of eyes
You need to avoid the temptation of rubbing your eyes, no matter how much you want to do that. The reason is that you can damage the outer surface of your eyes causing stinging and burning sensation, in addition to spreading dirt and bacteria in your eyes. Frequent rubbing of eyes can also weaken the cornea, which may cause irreversible deterioration of vision. If you feel the need to rub, you can splash some water in it or use a cold compress to soothe irritation.
Using eye drops without doctor’s consultation
People have a habit of using eye drops without consulting their doctors. Overusing eye drops without proper consultation can damage your eyes. If your eyes appear red to you, then do not panic, and drop redness of eyes is very common after a sleepless night or long working hours.
Apart from these habits, not including eye-friendly foods in your diet, not drinking enough water, and not getting enough sleep can also cause bad vision. Studies have also suggested that one should not wear old contact lenses. Some people wear contacts for an entire day and even sleep with it at night, which can put you at risk for allergies, severe dry eye and severe, sight threatening corneal infections.
Eyes are arguably the most precious organ of the body for healthy living, and most individuals maintain excellent eyesight throughout their lifetime. We can avoid damage to this special organ by avoiding small things we do on a daily basis consciously or unconsciously. Regular eye exams are just one of the many preventive measures that help avoid these issues.