Common Hazards to Eye Health

In daily life, hazards to eye health are virtually everywhere. From flying objects to hazardous chemicals, eyes are never completely safe! The good news is that a little awareness goes a long way is preserving healthy eyes. After all, we rely on them from the moment we wake up all the way until we turn the lights off for the night, so they deserve to be kept in tip top shape! Here are a few common mistakes people make that wreak havoc on the continued health of their eyes.

Sleeping in Contacts

Every contact wearer knows that this is a huge no-no, and yet many people still do it. As it happens, there are two types of contact lenses approved by the FDA for overnight where, but eye experts agree that even these types can be harmful over prolonged periods of time. Sleeping in any other type of lens is a gamble that can only be lost, as the lens prevents the cornea from taking in essential oxygen which can lead to long term problems. It also encourages bacterial growth that may lead to infection, and causes undue wear and tear on the contact lenses themselves, making them less effect and more likely to run out faster. Recently, American Academy of Ophthalmology study revealed that the risk of developing a corneal ulcer is 10 to 15 times greater in extended-wear contact lens users than those who only wear their contacts during the day. Although it’s ok to take a short, 20-minute nap with contacts still in, it is safer to remove them first, in case of unintentional oversleeping!

Touching Too Much

It’s startling to think that something as simple as touching eyes too much can make them suffer, but it’s true. They eyes are protected by a mucous membrane which can easily pick up and store germs, dirt, and debris introduced by hands and fingers. If the eyes itch and must be rubbed, it is best to do it gently with the lid closed and to touch only the outside of the eye.

Staring at Devices Too Long

These days people are spending more and more time on computers, tablets, televisions, or smartphones. They may spend all day on one at work only to sit in front of another one at home, but all this screentime can be hazardous for eyes. The blue light that these devices emit give some eye experts pause. Many think that it can be as harmful for eyes as the sun’s UV rays. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen, but it is well documented that staring at any one thing for prolonged periods of time leads to eye strain, headaches, and muscle aches. To keep eyes healthy, make a conscious effort to employ the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes spent focused on a screen, take 20 seconds to look into the distance and focus the eyes on something else.