The eyes are sensory organs responsible for vision and are among the body’s most sensitive organs. So, there are a lot of things that may take a toll on your eyes. Unfortunately, you may never even realize they are affecting your vision. Your eyes are cameras that support the central nervous system, and as our bodies age, so do our eyes. It’s, therefore, common for older adults to experience difficulties seeing objects very close.

But while poor vision in old age is inevitable, lifestyle factors can speed up the process of vision loss and ultimately damage the entire visual system. Many activities can adversely affect your eyesight ranging from some of the most popular recreational activities to various modern technological gadgets. If you give yourself enough rest or mind what you consume, you might impact your eye health positively.

Lifestyle Choices that Impact Your Eye Health

If you want to maintain your eye health and protect your eyesight, you must be mindful of certain factors, including:

1. Screen Time

Have you ever heard of dry eyes? The inability to produce enough tears for the eyes? Taking too much time behind screens harms your back and eyes. The longer you stare at a screen, the less often you blink. Insufficient blinking causes dry eyes. Also, staring at the screen for long at close range causes your eyes to strain.

In addition, dry eyes are among the leading causes of myopia in children and adults. So, if you experience headaches, blurred vision, and irritated eyes after long periods behind the screens, you must find a way to minimize the damage. Doctors recommend safe UV-free exposure to bright natural light to counteract dry eyes.

2. Poor Diet

Poor diet is a prominent driver of cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and osteoporosis. However, unhealthy diets can also cause high blood pressure, which harms our vision. You are what you eat. If you consume food high in cholesterol and carbohydrates, you will likely struggle with weight issues and vision problems. Also, simple carbohydrates like those found in white bread and pasta can increase your chances of getting age-related macular degeneration.

On the other hand, consuming eye-healthy foods such as carrots, blueberries, spinach, and omega-3 fatty, rich foods helps lessen the onset of macular degeneration.

3. Smoking

Nearly everybody now understands the deadly consequences associated with smoking. These range from cancer to heart disease and diabetes; smoking kills you slowly without knowing. However, many people don’t know that smoking also affects vision. Public understanding of the impacts of smoking on eye health is abysmal. If you didn’t know, smoking has been for a long time known to cause blindness through retinal artery occlusion and retinal disease.

Smoking is also a significant cause of age-related macular degeneration – the most common cause of blindness in the Western world. In addition, studies show that heavy smokers are more likely to develop cataracts. Further, the best way to minimize the chances of developing diabetic retinopathy is to quit smoking altogether.

4. Old Makeup

Your eyelashes have bacteria on them. The makeup brush becomes contaminated whenever you use it on the eyelid. The contaminated brush thus transfers the bacteria into the cosmetics container, increasing the risk of allergic reactions or eye infections. Most of these makeups also contain preservatives that inhibit the growth or formation of bacteria. Further, out-of-date makeup attracts bacteria, clogging your eyelids’ meibomian glands. The meibomian glands make oil for your tears.

Replace your makeup after every three months. Also, use a thoroughly washed brush for the makeup application to avoid contamination. Stop using the products immediately if a specific makeup causes eye irritation and redness.

5. UV Exposure

Many people only think ultraviolet (UV) rays cause skin cancer and maybe aging. But UV rays also harm the eyes. We need natural light for very many reasons. However, we must also protect our eyes from direct contact with harmful rays. Studies show too much UV light can cause eye problems and contributes to cataracts and photokeratitis.

Immersing yourself in the summer sun along the pristine sandy beaches is fun and therapeutic, but remember to wear protective sunglasses to avoid eye damage. When you take a flight for the summer holidays, be sure to carry sunglasses to limit the amount of UV filtering to the eyes.

6. Poor Contact Lens Hygiene

Most of the millions of people who wear contact lenses become complacent with the hygiene of their lenses. It’s common to find many people topping up contact lens solutions with tap water. Yet others unknowingly don’t change their lenses on time. All practices increase the chances of bacterial and fungal infections. In extreme cases, such complacency could lead to acanthamoeba keratitis, which can cause blindness.

You have to be very vigilant about your contact lens hygiene practices. Change your lenses on time and top up the lens with the correct contact eye solution.

7. Lack of Exercise

Exercise has massive benefits for our bodies. The benefits are even more remarkable for the healthy development of the eyes. The more you hit the gym and run down the trail paths, the more your body becomes active. The heart rate increases, and the risk of high blood pressure reduces. Lack of exercise slows up the flow of blood in the body. Also, you can get a blockage in blood vessels, hence affecting your vision.

Studies show that regular exercise reduces the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

Is It Time You Visited Your Ophthalmologist?

It would be best to visit your ophthalmologist at least once a year. Your overall health and wellness are essential. Most eye diseases don’t come with early symptoms, so it is necessary to stay alert and undergo regular eye examinations for early detection and treatment. You may only know your eye problem once you visit your doctor.