The spring season is a time of organization and renewal - and not just around the home! Many people find that a “spring cleaning” of their health and habits is extremely beneficial. And there’s no shortage of potential cleaning targets when it comes to your eye health this season.
Our eyes are two of the most important organs in our bodies. But as with any part of our health, failing to maintain good eye care routines and habits is likely to create problems. In some cases, these bad habits may simply irritate our eyes. In other cases, however, they can greatly contribute to our risk of developing serious eye issues and diseases.
With that in mind, we strongly encourage everyone in the Everett and Hurite family to examine common habits and mistakes that may be impacting their eye health. These habits include:
- Rubbing your eyes. This is a fairly universal bad habit, and one that’s worth breaking. While rubbing our eyes is extremely tempting throughout the day, this action has the potential to do a lot of damage. Firstly, it’s likely to irritate the eyes themselves. It’s also likely to transfer germs from your hands to your eyes, creating eye infections. Additionally, rubbing our eyes often irritates the sensitive area and skin around them; rubbing motions can tug on and stretch the sensitive skin around the eyes - and can even break blood vessels. So as difficult as it is, it’s best all around to avoid rubbing your eyes!
- Skipping the sunglasses. Sunglasses aren’t just a stylish accessory: they’re an eye health must. Without sunglasses, our eyes are exposed to UV rays - just as our skin is exposed to UV rays when we skip on the sunscreen. And much like our skin, our eyes are subject to serious problems related to UV rays, including corneal burns, eye cancer, and skin cancer. Because of this, it’s important to wear sunglasses any time you head out into the sun - especially as you begin spending more time outdoors this season.
- Using computers and looking at screens...a lot. Computers, tablets, phones, TVs...it’s easy to spend a lot of time staring at all of these devices and screens these days. However, all of that staring is adding up, and not in a good way. Some eye doctors believe that the light these screens emit may be as harmful as sunlight. And constant use of electronics is definitely likely to cause eye strain and headaches. To avoid the worst of these issues, experts recommend following the 20-20 rule: "For every 20 minutes you look at a screen, take a 20-second break to look into the distance, refocus your eyes on something else.” This will help your eyes stay focused and on top of their game. You should also blink repeatedly during these breaks, as it’s easy to forget to do so as you work - leading to increased discomfort and dryness.
- Sleeping in your contact lenses. As tempting as it is to sleep in contacts, experts recommend always taking them out, even if they're FDA-approved for overnight wear. Wearing contacts for an extended period of time increases your risk of developing a corneal ulcer by as much as 10 to 15 percent. And leaving them in for extended periods of time also deprives them of oxygen, creating an opportunity for infection and bacteria to strike. It’s just safer to take out your contacts before going to sleep - but you’ll also want to make sure those contacts are being stored properly, as expired contact lense solutions are bad for your eyes, too!
- Skipping annual eye exams. Few things are as detrimental to your eye health as skipping annual visits with your doctor. Even if your vision is perfect, annual eye exams are a must. In many cases, an annual eye exam will be the only way you’ll ever know about a developing eye problem. Remember, many eye issues begin painlessly - and by the time they begin to affect your vision, they may have advanced past the point of being corrected. Because of this, comprehensive eye exams are crucial, and are definitely worth recommitting to this season.
While these five eye care mistakes are common, the good news is that they’re fairly easily addressed. From purchasing new sunglasses, to taking out contact lenses, to picking up the phone and contacting Everett and Hurite to make an appointment - it’s the simple things like this that will help you see clearly for years to come!
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com