From rubbing your eyes to not eating enough nutrients, you can easily make eye health mistakes without even realizing it.

But seemingly innocent eye mistakes can lead to annoying eye problems. Some can even increase your risk for serious eye disease.

In this post, we discuss some common eye health behaviors that could hurt your vision.

Find out what is bad for your eyes and discover some good eye health habits and ideas. Let’s start with something you may have done today after waking…

1. Rubbing Your Eyes

It may provide relief occasionally, but don’t let it become a habit. Chronic eye rubbing can weaken or distort the cornea, the clear transparent layer at the front of the eye, and lead to vision problems. It occurs especially in people with allergic conjunctivitis, which causes itchy eyes.

When you do have to rub your eyes, do it gently. Apply no more pressure than you would when drying your face with a towel after washing it.

2. Not Blinking Enough

When you stare at a screen or read for extended periods, your blink rate drops. At the same time, the number of incomplete blinks—when the upper eyelid doesn’t touch the lower eyelid—increases. The result can be dry, tired eyes.

Remember to blink more often when reading or working at your computer. Also important is to take regular breaks from screens.

Tip: Follow the good old 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look for 20 seconds at an object at least 20 feet away.

3. Sleeping with Makeup On

Not washing away your makeup before going to bed can increase the risk of inflammatory conditions of the eyelids and lashes like blepharitis.

Always wash away your makeup at the end of the day—even when you don’t feel like it.

closed eye with mascara and makeup

Practice good eyelash hygiene. Dip a washcloth in warm water and place it over your eyes for a few minutes. Mix a bit of baby shampoo with water, apply it to the washcloth, and gently scrub the base of your eyelashes to remove bacteria.

4. Sleeping in Contact Lenses

Sleeping in your contacts turns the surface of your eye into the perfect breeding ground for microorganisms that can cause conjunctivitis and other eye infections. A serious infection can lead to vision loss.

Forgetting to remove your contacts before napping or sleeping is so easy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around one-third of contact lens wearers do it.

Don’t be one of them. Always remove your contacts before heading to the bedroom or couch.

5. Swimming or Showering with Contacts

Contacts again. Swimming or showering with them on isn’t a good idea either. They may warp and stick to your eyes, leading to corneal scratches.

Eye surface scratches can cause an inflamed cornea (keratitis) and eye infections. So, don’t forget to remove your contacts before turning on the shower or plunging into the pool.

6. Not Wearing Your Sunglasses on Cloudy Days

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun can hurt your eyes even on cloudy days. The effects are not immediately clear. But over time, your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions goes up.

Always have a pair of sunglasses ready, whether you’re going for a drive or taking a walk. And make sure they provide 100% UV protection.

Tip: If you go hiking at high altitudes, get sunglasses that offer extra protection. At high altitudes, regular sunglasses lose some of their filtering power.

7. Skipping the Safety Glasses

Safety glasses are probably the last thing on your mind when you’re in DIY mode about the house or yard.

But they can safeguard your eyes in myriad ways. From debris when you’re mowing the grass. From wood chips when you’re sawing. From pruning accidents and countless other risks.

man and woman doing DIY project wearing yellow safety glasses and protective headwear

Have a pair of safety glasses in your DIY toolbox and wear them whenever you do anything that poses the slightest risk to your eyes.

8. Not Going in for Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams at least every two years can safeguard your vision. Many eye diseases start subtly. If you don’t get a dilated eye exam, you may not know you have them until it’s too late. This is especially important after 40.

In addition to eye checks, pay attention to your blood pressure and blood sugar levels too.

High blood pressure increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and can lead to vein occlusion, a kind of eye stroke. Meanwhile, high blood sugar puts you at risk of diabetes, which can cause diabetic retinopathy, a common cause of vision loss.

9. Neglecting Dry Eye Signs

Dry, tired eyes are common in the digital age. But if they are more than an occasional occurrence, they can be a sign of dry eye disease. Millions of Americans live with undiagnosed dry eye disease, the American Optometric Association suggests.

Living with untreated dry eyes can be uncomfortable and affect your productivity. It can also increase the risk of permanent corneal damage leading to vision loss.

If you experience dry eyes and the many other potential symptoms of dry eye disease, get your eyes checked.

old man rubbing eyes in car reflected on rearview mirror

10. Not Getting Enough Eye Nutrients

Some nutrients play a key role in preserving eyesight. These include the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which occur in the retina, and vitamins A, C, and E.

Antioxidants such as anthocyanins in blueberries are also important as they help protect eye cells from damage caused by free radicals and UV radiation.

Omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to eye health as well by helping to manage dry eye disease.

If you’re not eating a balanced diet, you may not be getting enough eye nutrients. A busy schedule can make it difficult to “eat the rainbow” and at least five fruit and vegetable servings a day.

A healthy way to increase your intake of vision nutrients is to take a sugar-free, plant-based eye health supplement like SightC from Sightsage.

Loaded with superfoods like goji berries and turmeric, SightC provides antioxidants, phytonutrients, lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. The fruits, herbs, and roots it contains work harmoniously to support vision health.

Learn more about SightC.

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