Are You Overlooking Your Eyes? They're easy to take for granted, but your vision is too important for that. It might be time to take a closer look at your eye-care routines to see if you’re doing more harm than good.
You Don’t Get Annual Eye Exams It’s a good idea to see your eye doctor each year to make sure all is well, especially once you’re over 40. They’ll check how well you can see, and they might put drops in your eyes to dilate, or widen, your pupils to help them to check for serious issues like glaucoma, diabetic eye disease, or macular degeneration.
You Ignore Irritated Eyes
Red, watery eyes that itch or burn can be a telltale sign of allergies. But you may have an infection if they also:
Are sensitive to light
Have a thick or mucus-like discharge
Have blurry vision that is new and not getting better
It’s important to see your eye doctor right away if you notice any of those symptoms. An untreated infection can damage your eyes. You can spread it to people around you, too.
You Don’t Get Eye Injuries Checked Out
Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal, see your eye doctor as soon as possible if anything happens to your eyes. It’s especially important if you:
Have trouble seeing
Feel pain or discomfort in or around your eye
Can’t open your eye
See blood in the white of your eye
Can’t move one eye as well as the other
Notice that one pupil is larger or shaped differently than the other
You Forget to Wear Sunglasses
Your "shades" protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Those rays can make you more likely to have cataracts at a younger age, macular degeneration, or a condition called pterygium (when tissue grows over the white part of your eye). Look for sunglasses that block out at least 99% of both UVA and UVB rays.
You Rub Your Eyes
This can irritate them and damage blood vessels. It can also make whatever is troubling you worse. Your hands constantly pick up germs that don’t need to be anywhere near your peepers. Make sure your hands are clean if you need to touch your eyes.
You Spend Too Much Time on Screens
Getting up close and personal with your computer, tablet, or even your smartphone works your eye muscles. Long periods of screen time can make your eyes tired and cause headaches. The 20-20-20 rule is an easy way to keep that from happening: Look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. And blink often to keep your eyes moist. At the office, anti-glare protection on your computer screen can help, too.
You Leave Makeup On
Leftover particles of mascara, eyeliner, or eye shadow can fall into your eyes and lead to infection. It’s important to take off eye makeup completely every night. If your eyes are red and start to hurt, see your doctor right away.
This post originally appeared on WebMD.