We have all heard about lifestyle diseases – ailments brought on by the way we eat, drink and live – everything from obesity to diabetes, cardiac problems to cancer. Our lifestyle choices impact our entire body, and our eyes are not immune to these adverse effects. Here are some surprising things that can damage your eyesight.
The ill effects of smoking have been well publicised over decades, but its effect on eyesight is not that well known. Smoking can make your eyes dry and irritated. It also increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can eventually lead to loss of vision. According to a 2013 report by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, smokers are three times more likely to develop AMD compared to non-smokers.
What you can do – quit smoking, of course and avoid second-hand smoking when you an! It’s not just your eyesight at risk; smoking increases your chances of getting lung cancer and it can also dramatically reduce your life expectancy.
Did you know that your ‘summer on the beach’ lifestyle could be dangerous to your eyes? The sun’s ultraviolet radiation poses a grave threat to your eyesight. Prolonged exposure can lead to photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis – inflammation of the sensitive tissue of your eyeballs and eyelids. Exposure to UVB rays increases your risk of developing cataracts. Radiation is especially harmful on the beach as the sand and water reflect the sun rays manifold.
What you can do – always protect your eyes when you’re at the beach. Wear polarized sunglasses that block 99%-100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Avoid cosmetic sunglasses or glasses that provide no UV protection information.
Working at the Computer
A lot of our time is spent looking at the computer – whether it’s your laptop at work, or your iPad at home. To a lesser extent, watching excessive television is also a culprit. The digital age has given rise to a new eye problem – computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of CVS include eyestrain, dry eyes, redness in the eyes and double or blurred vision. If you wear contact lenses, you need to be more careful as staring at your computer for prolonged periods can dry out your lenses, and cause discomfort and lack of visual clarity.
What you can do – adjust the brightness of your screen and use an anti-glare protection. Take frequent breaks and look away from your computer. The 20-20-20 rule is a good one to follow; every 20 minutes look away from your screen for 20 seconds and focus on an object 20 feet away. If you wear contact lenses, speak to your optician about getting lenses that suit your work style.
Take Early Action
As with all lifestyle ailments, prevention is better than cure when it comes to your eyesight. Get your eyes tested regularly. Most eye problems creep up gradually and an eye test can detect these at an early stage. At Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care we offer a comprehensive eye test, which also includes a complete lifestyle evaluation. Based on your eye test results, our friendly and trained opticians can suggest the solutions that best suit you – whether it’s from our range of designer spectacles or contact lenses from the world’s leading manufacturers. We will also advise you on the best eyecare practices. So drop by at your local Leightons branch or book an appointment online.
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