We understand how busy young adults can be with all the studying and work that has to be done. However, eye health isn’t something you should forget. Like any part of your body, problems with your eyes can affect your school and work performance as well as your daily routine.
Here are tips to help you maintain good eye health and vision from a local optometrist.
Your Eyes and Digital Devices
Many of today’s school materials are digitized, increasing the need for using tablets and computers. It’s the same for desk jobs where you face computer screens for most of the day. Did you know that excessive exposure to digital devices can result in digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome (CVS)?
CVS is often characterized by headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and neck and shoulder pain. The common causes of this condition include poor sitting posture, poor lighting, and glare from screens. Uncorrected vision problems, such as farsightedness and astigmatism, can also increase your risk of developing this condition. This is why regular visits with your optometrist are important.
Fortunately, the symptoms that come with CVS are only temporary and often go away once you stop using your devices. Sometimes, non-eyeglass wearers can benefit from glasses specifically made for computer use. For those who wear eyeglasses, special tints or coatings can help alleviate CVS symptoms.
It would also help to take a break from your computer from time to time. Try practicing the 20-20-20 rule, where you look 20 feet away from your monitor for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. To avoid dry eye when using your computer, make it a habit to blink frequently. It will help in maintaining the moisture in the front surface of your eyes.
Proper Contact Lens Wear
Good hygiene is essential in preventing eye infections due to contact lens wear. According to a study, most contact lens wearer confessed they have at least one poor habit that increases their risk for eye infections.
Before handling your contacts, make sure you have washed your hands with soap and water and dried them with a clean cloth. Never ever sleep without removing your contact lenses unless directed by your eye specialist. You shouldn’t wear your contacts when showering, swimming, or near any body of water. Swimming with contacts can cause eye infections, irritation, and conditions that can result in vision loss.
Only use fresh contact lens solution when cleaning and disinfecting your lenses. Do not mix new solution with old or used one. Rub and rinse your contacts with fresh solution before placing them back in their case. Replace your contact lens as recommended by your eye specialist and get a new contact lens case at least every three months.
You should also give your eyes a break from contact lens wear. The cornea won’t get sufficient oxygen when it’s covered with your contacts all day. Without enough oxygen, the cornea begins growing new blood vessels to make up for the lack of air. Overwearing contact lenses can cause eye inflammation and deposits in the cornea as well as increase the risk of infection.
Better Hygiene Is Key
While sharing is caring, letting someone else use or makeup or borrowing from others can increase your risk for eye infections like pink eye or conjunctivitis. As much as possible, use your own makeup and throw them away as directed on the packaging. Make sure your hands, face, and eyelids are very clean before putting on makeup. Also, don’t forget to clean your makeup brushes and sponges.
Avoid using products containing untested or harsh chemicals. When trying out makeup in stores, only use fresh applicators and samples that haven’t been used by multiple people. Your best bet is to completely avoid store samples. If you tend to get allergic reactions easily, try out one new makeup at a time. Don’t start using a new product until you know the first one isn’t causing any reaction. If an eye makeup causes infection, discontinue it and have your eyes checked by a specialist. Don’t use eye makeup until the infection is gone.
Other things you shouldn’t share with others are towels and medicated eye drops. Proper handwashing and hygiene are key to avoiding common eye infections. They are also important in managing blepharitis, often characterized by inflamed, itchy, and red eyelids. The condition tends to recur, making good eyelid hygiene essential.
Many are already aware of this, but you should never go to bed without removing your makeup. It can cause eye irritation and redness. You can use warm compresses, makeup remover wipes, or natural oils to remove your makeup. Finish off with a cool compress to reduce puffiness.
Those who have recently had eye surgery shouldn’t wear makeup around the eye unless eye doctors say it’s safe to do so. Once you’re allowed to use makeup again, purchase new products to minimize the chances of developing infections.
Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Eyes
In your diet include foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as green leafy vegetables and fish. Fatty fish like salmon have omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to the health of the macula, which is responsible for central vision.
If you don’t smoke, you shouldn’t start. Insufficient antioxidant intake, alcohol consumption, and smoking can create free-radical reactions, which are harmful to the macula. Eating excessively fat foods can also cause fat deposits that can restrict blood flow in the arteries. Your eyes are sensitive to this because they have very small blood vessels.
Exercising can improve oxygen levels to the eyes and remove toxins as it improves blood circulation. Getting enough sleep will not only make you look and feel great, but it can also help you perform better at work or school and contribute to good eye health.
Keep in mind that the choices you make as a young adult can influence your risk of developing eye disease later in life. When going outdoors and it’s sunny, wear sunglasses with ultraviolet radiation-blocking lenses. Doing so can reduce your chance of developing macular degeneration, cataracts, and certain eye cancers. Meanwhile, keeping a healthy weight can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, which can cause permanent vision loss.
If you participate in sports, avoid eye injuries by wearing proper sports eyewear. A lot of sports require safety glasses specially designed for players that sport. Around 30,000 people in the U.S. are rushed to emergency rooms yearly due to sports-eye related injuries. Many of these incidents can be avoided by wearing proper protective eye gear.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Vision screenings are different from comprehensive eye exams. In vision screenings, patients are asked to identify tiers of letters that are 20 feet away. They are performed to determine if you need corrective lenses or medical treatment.
On the other hand, comprehensive eye exams are done by optometrists or ophthalmologists. They usually include a vision screening besides the series of tests to assess your eye health. Your eye doctor will check each of your eyes for indications of serious eye conditions, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and detached retinas.
Getting comprehensive eye exams regularly, regardless of one’s age, helps with the early detection and treatment of serious eye diseases. People tend to experience more vision issues as they get older and certain eye diseases don’t manifest symptoms until their later stages. Protect your eyes and maintain good vision by starting this habit early.