Keep an eye out for these habits

Here are some common habits that lead to eye damage, warns Dr Ashwin Santosh Shetty

eye

Your eyes are constantly exposed to the environment around you. Adding to that, the lack of any structural protection puts them at an increased risk of damage from multiple environmental factors.

With some care, we can reduce the chances of many complications that may have an adverse effect on the health of our eyes. Here are some common habits that lead to eye damage:

Rubbing of the eye

Persistent rubbing of the eye causes multiple issues in the eyes, including recurrent infections that occur due to the transfer of dirt and bacteria from the fingers to the eyes. Recent investigations have also strongly linked it with a condition called Keratoconus, in which the cornea becomes thin and irregular, affecting the quality of vision. Eye allergies and uncorrected refractive errors are two major reasons that cause people to rub their eyes, and correcting these issues can help reduce the frequency of eye rubbing.

Misusing contact lenses

Contact lenses can be a lot of fun; you can leave those dorky glasses home when you step out. They are, however, medical devices and need proper care in their use, with sufficient cleaning to avoid complications that can sometimes be threatening for vision.

Using them past their recommended date: Monthly disposable lenses must be disposed after a month of use.

Using them for more than the recommended hours in a day: Regular lenses 8 hours a day, extended wear lenses — 12-16 hours a day if it is comfortable.

Using lenses while bathing, in the pool, hot tubs: Can lead to infections with a particularly nasty bug called Acanthamoeba which is very destructive and also very difficult to diagnose and treat.

Not cleaning the lens daily: This increases the risk of allergies and infections.

Using expired eye cosmetics

Using eye cosmetics can aggravate eye allergies or cause eye infections if the cosmetics have been contaminated. Find a brand that works for you and stick to it. Eye cosmetics should be ideally discarded after three months.

Smoking

Smoking is related to a higher risk of age-related macular degeneration which, eventually adversely impacts the vision. Macular degeneration results in a little spot on the central retina, which is used for sharp, central vision. At the point when this part of the retina starts to break
down, so does the vision.

Gazing at a cell phone

Eyes feel physically worn out in the wake of staring at screens like computers and mobile phones throughout the day. When the eyes stress to read the little content on those small screens, the blinking rate reduces. This dries out the surface of the eye, irritates it which leads to eyes that
feel tired and gritty all the time. Take a break from your screens.

(The author is consultant, ophthalmology, Aster CMI Hospital)

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