6 Things You Might Not Know Damage Your Vision
Vision loss can affect people of all ages, but it’s most common in adults over the age of 40. In fact, an estimated 12 million adults in the United States who are over the age of 40 have vision impairment, with another 61 million who are in the high-risk category for vision loss.
Are you someone who is already experiencing vision loss or is at high risk for these issues? Certain factors can’t be avoided, such as age. But other lifestyle choices could be affecting your eyes more than you realize.
Preventing Vision Loss: What You Need to Know
The most important thing to keep in mind is that many types of vision loss are irreversible. Unfortunately, in these cases, there isn’t a way to restore your eyesight once the vision is gone.
So, instead of waiting to do something when the vision loss symptoms begin, it’s better to be proactive about preventing vision loss in the first place.
A few small lifestyle changes can go a long way to protect your eyes and reduce the likelihood of issues in the future. Consider these habits to be a form of “insurance” – helping you avoid preventable forms of vision loss.
Things That Can Damage Your Vision
Are you aware of the small factors that could be damaging your vision each day? Here are some of the things that you need to know about preventing vision loss:
1. Screen Time: Looking at the Computer or Phone
It’s impossible to make it through the day without looking at a computer or phone, especially if you work in a career that requires a lot of time in front of the screen. So when you need to use a computer or other type of screen, consider how much these activities affect your eye health.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, looking at a computer can cause temporary discomfort. But the good news is that screen time won’t result in permanent damage to your eyes. For example, you might experience dry eyes or a bit of irritation, but no serious long-term problems.
If you find that your eyes feel tired after working at the computer, then be proactive about building in regular breaks. Artificial tears can add a little bit of lubrication to improve your comfort. You can also reduce discomfort by adjusting the lighting in the room and brightness on the screen.
2. Improper Use of Contact Lenses
It’s great to have a clear vision when wearing contact lenses! If you need vision correction lenses, then contact lenses help you see clearly without the discomfort of wearing glasses.
But, if you choose to wear contact lenses, it’s important to be diligent about the care and upkeep of these lenses. Improper usage of contact lenses can put your eyes and vision at risk!
The problem with contact lenses is that they can build up debris, protein, bacteria, and other compounds over time. If these microscopic elements are attached to the contact lens, it could result in a severe eye infection.
While we can use medications to clear up most eye infections, the damage can result in vision loss. A recent report found that an estimated 20% of corneal infections from contact lenses caused minor to severe vision impairment.
Here are a few critical contact lens tips to prevent eye infections:
- Be diligent about cleaning the lenses daily
- Use proper cleaning products for contact lenses
- Always wash your hands before touching the lenses or your eyes
- Discarding contact lenses at the recommended times
- Always remove the contacts before swimming or showering
- Never sleep in contact lenses
3. Not Using Eye Protection
Whether you are using power tools or mowing the lawn, seemingly simple activities around the house can be harmful to your eyes.
It only takes one flyaway branch or rock to damage the eye, leading to serious injury. In a moment, this damage can happen and result in permanent vision impairment. These eye injuries are usually irreversible.
Wearing safety glasses is easy to do and easy not to do. Spend a few dollars to invest in a quality pair of safety glasses, and always keep them on when you are working on maintenance tasks around the house.
4. Prescription Medication Side Effects
When a doctor writes a prescription, always be proactive about asking about potential side effects from this specific medication. There are benefits to using medications for symptom and illness management, but specific prescriptions can come with the side effect of causing vision damage.
For example, antidepressants can make it harder for the eyes to work together or affect how your eyes focus. In addition, certain acne medications can damage the delicate glands in the eyes that produce the moisture needed for a healthy film over the eyeballs.
If you are taking any type of medication and notice changes in your eyes, then it’s essential to talk to the doctor as soon as possible. Don’t stop taking medications without professional medical consultation. But your doctor might be able to prescribe another option if you have side effects that are impairing your vision.
5. UV Exposure When Outside
Not only is it uncomfortable to be squinting when you are in the sun, but the harmful UV rays could be damaging your eyes! The UV light can increase the chances of corneal growths (known as pterygium), as well as cataracts or certain types of eyelid cancers.
Invest in high-quality sunglasses. Even though cheap sunglasses have dark lenses, they don’t offer the UV protection you need to avoid eye damage.
Make sure you always wear eyeglasses with UV protection and polarized lenses when you are spending time in the bright sunshine.
6. Untreated Health Problems
Finally, it’s important to remember that your overall health can affect the quality of your vision. For example, if you live with untreated, chronic health issues, it could take a toll on your eye health.
One of the most common issues in the United States is diabetes management. Blood sugar issues can affect most parts of the eye, increasing the likelihood of vision-threatening conditions such as:
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Open-angle glaucoma
All of these conditions can cause vision loss and even blindness. But they can be prevented by managing diabetes through lifestyle changes and medication usage.
Is it Time for an Eye Exam?
If you notice signs of vision loss, it’s important to talk to an experienced eye doctor as soon as possible. Even if your eyes seem fine, regular eye exams are the best way to detect early signs of vision loss and other health issues.
When you need to schedule an exam, EyesNY is the team to call. Book an appointment at one of our convenient locations.