Eye health and eyesight is something that most people take lightly. This is because we don’t notice a disparity in our vision until its too late. Declining eye health and vision doesn’t happen in a day or at a significant rate. Its an accumulation of poor habits, a lack of care, and not paying enough attention in the way we use them and how we treat them.

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Whether you’re a student, worker, parent or have a particular lifestyle, there are plenty of habits we can change to prevent further damage to our eyes. And it’s better to change them sooner rather than later.

Here are seven habits that can damage your eyes.

1. Staring at mobile devices for too long

Everyday Habits that Damage Your Eyes

Whether it’s your phone or a video game device, the text you read or the motion video your eyes try to follow will leave you squinting at the small details. Over long periods this can damage your vision, cause headaches as well as nausea.

What to do: Use glasses if you have them, so you don’t have to squint to read the fine print. Don’t play with devices in the dark and take regular breaks in between using a mobile device. Putting your phone down every 20 minutes should do.

2. Staring at bright lights in the dark

Everyday Habits that Damage Your Eyes

Staring at a mobile screen, or watching TV in the dark regularly will cause your eyes to strain and damage your vision over time. Eyestrain is caused because your eyes are constantly challenged to adjust to low and bright lights. 

What to do: Do not play your phone, computer or watch TV in the dark for too long. Only do so when you need to and don’t make it a habit, as it can also ruin your sleep schedule.

3. A poor diet

Everyday Habits that Damage Your Eyes

Though this doesn’t have anything to do with using your eyes, your nutritional intake matters too for your eye health. Eating junk food, low-level nutrition foods are not doing your eyes, nor your body any favours. Dehydration is also a focal reason why people have poor eye health. 

What to do: Eat foods that are high in nutrients such as Vitamin C, E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Multiple studies have also shown that a diet high in citrus fruits and leafy vegetables can improve your vision. Be sure to drink plenty of water to keep your eyes well lubricated and prevent it from tearing or straining.

4. Forgetting to remove your contacts before bed

Everyday Habits that Damage Your Eyes

Some people either forget to take off their contact lenses while others leave it on because they’re too tired to take them off. Not only can this cause damage, but it may also lead to an infection in the eye. Contacts can become dirty and grow bacteria. If you don’t change them regularly, your eyes are going to pay for it.

What to do: This one is straight forward. Make it a habit to take them off every night and disposing of them once they are dry or worn out. If you find it a nuisance to use contacts, speak with your optometrist about getting glasses or having the treatment done as alternatives.

5. Rubbing your eyes too much

Everyday Habits that Damage Your Eyes

Rubbing your eyes can be tempting and a natural reflex for some, but its actually one of the worst things you can do to your eyes, especially if you’re doing it with a lot of pressure. Rubbing your eyes too hard can break blood vessels in your eyes as well as straining your eyelids. If your hands are dirty, you may also risk getting an infection.

What to do: if your eyes are itchy or feel strained, gently wash them with water and compress your eyelids with something cold. 

6. Missing out on sleep

Everyday Habits that Damage Your Eyes

Sleep deprivation is extremely bad for your eyes and can exacerbate the other habits on this list. Not getting enough sleep dehydrates your eyes, straining them in the process and you’ll notice blurred vision and possibly even pain. 

What to do: Turn off all the devices that can distract you at night and prepare a comfortable sleeping environment. This is the best way to easily sleep and get your ideal hours. No one under any circumstance should get less than 6 hours of sleep per night.

7. Not visiting your eye doctor enough

Everyday Habits that Damage Your Eyes

Visiting your optometrist or eye doctor is just as important as visiting the dentist or your general doctor. Your doctor can detect serious issues, identify if your eye health is in decline, and equip you with the necessary steps in treating, maintaining and managing healthy eyes. 

What to do: Get your eyes checked up by a professional once a year. If you notice symptoms such as blurred vision, headaches after staring too long, or general discomfort in your eyes, visit the doctor at first notice.

Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.