The most common factor impacting the quality of your vision is genetics. Vision conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are caused by irregularities in the shape of your cornea that are associated with your genetic makeup.
However, your genetic makeup isn’t the only thing impacting your vision. Many of the actions you take on a daily basis can have a negative impact on your vision. Over a prolonged period of time, these actions can potentially result in deteriorated vision and eye health issues.
1. Forgetting to Wear Sunglasses
We’re all aware that the sun’s harmful UV rays can lead to serious issues such as skin cancer, but they can also damage your retina and increase your risk of vision issues such as cataracts. While sunglasses will prevent you from squinting in the bright light, they also provide important protection against these harmful UV rays. Make sure you buy sunglasses that provide UV protection.
2. Rubbing Your Eyes
We’ve all done it. Your eyes are itchy, and you rub them to relieve the discomfort. Unfortunately, this action can also spread bacteria and dirt throughout your eyes. In fact, this is the most common way that conditions such as pink eye are spread.
However, there are many more serious consequences associated with rubbing your eyes. It can lead to permanent corneal damage and increase your risk of conditions such as keratoconus which cause your cornea to bulge and distort vision.
3. Wearing Your Contacts for too Long
Contact lenses are meant to be worn for a short period of time. One-day contacts should be discarded every day. Similarly, bi-weekly contacts or monthly contacts should be changed out at the appropriate time. Wearing contact lenses longer than intended can increase your risk of infection. Other actions that may increase your risk of infection include:
Sleeping in your contacts
Failing to switch out your contact lens case every few weeks
The link between smoking and cancer has been well documented. However, smoking can also significantly increase your risk of several vision conditions, including:
Age-related macular degeneration
In fact, smoking doubles your risk of developing macular degeneration, which is one of the leading causes of vision loss in individuals over the age of 50.
5. Using Expired Eye Makeup
You’ve spent a lot of money on your eye makeup, and you still have half a tube left when it reaches the expiration date. Do you really need to waste these products and spend more money when your current supply still works well? Simply put, yes.
Using expired eye makeup can result in eye irritation and increase your risk of infection. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends discarding eye makeup every three months to avoid infection.
6. Staring at Your Phone too Often
People have an intense love affair with their smart phones. Most of us are glued to them for most of the day. However, reading the small text on cell phone screens causes strain on your eyes, and the blue light emitted by phones causes your blink rate to decrease. When you blink less frequently, it results in a decrease in tear production, causing your eyes to feel dry and tired.
This eye fatigue can cause you to experience blurry vision. In addition, recent studies have found that excessive time viewing cell phone screens can result in irreversible retina damage. Giving your eyes a rest from your phone can help preserve your long-term eye health.
This post originally appeared on NEI Vision