Lifestyle factors that hurt our eyes

Lifestyle factors that hurt our eyes

As our bodies age, so do our eyes. It’s common for older adults to experience things such as having difficulty seeing up close, distinguishing colours or adjusting to the light. Although this is inevitable, lifestyle factors can exacerbate or further damage our eyes and affect our vision.

UV Exposures

We’ve all been warned about the harmful effects of UV rays. They’ve been known to cause skin cancer, exacerbate aging and suppress the immune system. UV rays also harm the eyes. Just like our skin, our eyes can be sunburnt too. Moreover, UV damage to the eyes can cause cataracts and eye damage. Sun damage can occur in young children as early as nine years old and is magnified during summer or snow holidays.
How to minimise damage:
Wearing sunglasses during the day will filter out the amount of UV entering the eyes and minimise any damage caused by the sun.

Screen time

You don’t have to be a scientist to know that too much screen time is bad for the eyes. This is because it drastically increases dry eyes and has been linked to myopia in adults and children.
How to minimise damage:
We can do two main things to minimise the damage from looking at the screen all day. The first is through exposure to bright natural, UV-free light. The second is by following the 20 20 20 rule – that is, look 20 feet away from the screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.


Smoking adversely affects much of our bodies, so it’s no surprise it affects our eyes too. Smoking has been known to cause blindness through retinal artery occlusion and retinal disease.
How to minimise damage:
The most straightforward answer is to stop smoking altogether. However, we understand quitting isn’t simple. So, we ask you to do your best and minimise the amount you smoke until you’re comfortable enough to stop altogether.

Poor contact lens hygiene

We find that those who wear contacts can get complacent about their contact lens hygiene over time. This can lead to acanthamoeba keratitis, which can cause blindness.
How to minimise damage:
We ask our contact-wearing clients to please be vigilant about their hygiene habits. Practices such as topping up contact lens solutions with water and not changing the lenses in time create a higher risk of bacterial and fungal infections.

Poor diet

We’ve spoken about how our dietary choices can affect our eyesight. For example, a poor diet can lead to high blood pressure, which can result in vision loss. But, conversely, a good and balanced diet can diminish the onset of macular degeneration.
How to minimise damage:
Make sure you consume a balanced diet full of eye-healthy foods, such as blueberries and spinach.

Is it time to see the Optom?

We can never honestly know the damage that is done to our eyes on a day to day. The best way to check on the health of our eyes is to visit the local Optom. A general eye test should be conducted every few years; however, follow this checklist to know if you’re due for a visit:
  • You family has a high risk for eye diseases
  • Your vision has gotten visibly worse
  • Your eyes have become irritated
  • You’ve noticed some problems with your vision
  • You’re pregnant
  • You’re taking long-term medication with side effects that impact your eyes
  • You can’t remember the last time you visited the Optom
Are you due for an appointment? Click here to book with Optical Insight now.


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