“Don’t stare into the sun.” Hopefully that important piece of eye-safety advice stuck with you since childhood—looking into the sun is an effective way to harm your vision. Some eye habits might not seem as risky, but a few can cause some seriously bad outcomes, whether immediately or long-term. Here are seven bad eye habits to break for better eye health.
Bad Eye Habit 1: Rubbing Your Eyes
Your parents were not being overly cautious when they told you not to rub your eyes when you were growing up. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, rubbing your eyes1 can result in an unwelcome outcome: scratching your cornea. If you have ever had a scratched eye, you know how painful and disruptive it can be. Over time, rubbing your eyes can cause damage to the eyelids and sensitive thin skin around your eyes, resulting in premature aging of those tissues and under-eye circles.
Instead of rubbing your eyes when they are itchy, use a cool compress for relief. If there is something in your eye causing irritation, flush your eyes gently with water or visit a doctor.
Bad Eye Habit 2: Skimping on Sleep
Many of us do not get enough sleep, and that affects our eyesight as well as so many other parts of our lives. One of the things you can do to start on the path to better and more sleep is to create a pre-bedtime routine. That could include turning off computers and putting away glowing screens of all kinds, making some tea, writing in a journal, or anything that you will start associating with bedtime.
Bad Eye Habit 3: Not Enough Nutrients, Not Enough Water
Here’s a tip from the American Academy of Ophthalmology: “Eating a diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help not only your heart but also your eyes.”2 Your whole body wants nutrients to support your overall health — and that also includes enough water for proper hydration.
Find out more about dietary changes you can make by talking with a qualified nutritionist or your doctor.
Bad Eye Habit 4: Not Wearing Eye Protection
One of the biggest daily risks to your vision health is preventable injury. Wear eye protection that’s appropriate for any higher-risk activity, like:
- Mowing the lawn
- Playing ball sports
- Cooking with oil
- Home improvement projects
Use your judgement — if there is a risk of something dangerous flying at your eyes, wear eye-safety glasses.
Bad Eye Habit 5: Smoking
Your eye health is one more reason to motivate you in a stop-smoking plan. Quitting this habit will benefit your overall health and reduce the risk of eye diseases that could lead to blindness. While quitting smoking isn’t easy, know that there are resources to help. Talk to your doctor.
Bad Eye Habit 6: Lots of Screen Time
Spending time on our screens is quite common in modern life, but it’s not something our eyes are used to. Those hours can lead to digital eye strain, blurred vision and headaches. Filling our space with artificial light is very recent in human history: by 1925 only half of our homes were lit by electric lightbulbs3. It’s especially important to take breaks throughout the day when you’re looking at screens and to avoid using screens late at night.
Bad Eye Habit 7: Not Visiting Your Eye Doctor
Don’t think that just because your eyes seem fine, you’re off the hook for getting eye exams. Take care of your eye health with regular vision exams that can monitor the changes in your eyesight, as well as detect more serious issues like cataracts and glaucoma. Having vision insurance makes it easier to stay on top of periodic checkups.
Don’t have a vision insurance plan? No problem. VSP has options for nearly everyone. Enroll online today and start by finding the right vision insurance plan for you. It’s time to make sure you are protecting your eyes for a healthy year ahead.
Information received through VSP Vision Care's social media channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.