What Can Damage Your Eyes?
Every day, we hear about things that are bad for our health but when it comes to our eyes, it is particularly serious. The lens of the eye cannot repair itself and any lost and damaged cells are never replaced; thus, we really do need to take care of them. But what is particularly damaging?
The sun is the most commonly known threat to your eyes but it is also one of the most serious. It’s not only looking directly at the sun either. In fact, the sun emits harmful ultra-violet (UV) rays all the time and although they are particularly harmful on sunny days or when reflected off something such as glass, water, or snow; UV rays can cause damage on a cloudy, miserable day too.
UV rays from the sun can cause cataracts and early onset macular degeneration. They can also be to blame for pterygia (abnormal tissue growth on the whites of the eyes) and photokeratitis (sunburn on the cornea, which can cause cracking and blistering).
Protect yourself from these dangers by not looking directly at the sun, by remaining in the shade during the sunniest parts of the day, and by wearing good quality sunglasses that have a UV protective coating.
Although the odd drink now and then will do no harm, drinking excessively can cause damage to your whole body – and that includes your eyes! Not only will heavy drinking lead to early onset macular degeneration but it may cause optic neuropathy, which affects your colour vision and central visual field. Drinking may also decrease your sensitivity to colour contrast, meaning that you may struggle to differentiate between different shades of grey. Although this may sound like no great loss, it could cause big problems when driving, especially during the rainy seasons! Alcohol can also affect your vision in an indirect way as it can alter the way in which your liver processes vitamin A – an essential vitamin for eye health.
Interestingly, there has been some research that shows drinking an occasional glass of red wine may actually slow eyesight deterioration, although occasional is the important word there! In order to avoid the dangers of drink, stay within the government issued guidelines for alcohol consumption.
After aging, smoking is the biggest cause of macular degeneration and like alcohol, smoking can cause a myriad of problems. Optic neuropathy is again related, as the decrease in blood-flow caused by smoking damages the optic nerve. Smoking may also increase your risk of developing cataracts or suffering from vascular disease (a hardening of the arteries). Regularly sitting in smoky environments, moreover, can lead to chronic red-eye, a damaged tear film, and irritable dry eye.
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The best and most efficient way to prevent such disorders is to stop smoking.
Laziness rears its head again, and it’s true that not getting enough exercise can ultimately damage your eyes. An unbalanced diet and a sedentary lifestyle will eventually lead to the hardening and narrowing of arteries, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and more. Such disorders all cause vision loss and unless dealt with early on, could result in permanent blindness.
Exercise for at least 20 minutes, three times a week and eat a balanced diet filled with tasty (and vitamin A rich) fruits and vegetables in order to prevent the development of such disorders and so that your eyes stay in tip top shape.