Protecting Your Eyes from Damage
Of our five senses, the one we rely on most is vision. Our experience of the world is colored by our ability to see, a great deal of the information our memories draw on is visual, and many activities of daily living are challenging without sight. Because of this, it is essential to protect your eyes from damage. You should make regular visits to an eye care provider to receive a professional eye exam that checks for damage due to inadequate eye protection.
Americans spend more time than ever before in front of screens. From looking at a computer screen in your office to watching TV at home and checking your email on your phone, too much screen use can strain your eyes. It is strongly recommended that you take at least five minutes per hour to relax your eyes and alleviate strain. Go for a brief walk or focus on distant objects to reduce eye strain before returning to the task at hand.
Dust, Wind, and other Environmental Stressors
Windy conditions, blowing dust, air pollutants, and other small particles in the air can also cause eye damage. When facing dusty or windy conditions, you should use eye drops or safety glasses to protect your eyes from damage. If you normally wear contact lenses, you should consider wearing glasses in these conditions to prevent particles from irritating the surface of your eyes. Whenever possible, stay indoors on days with high winds or amounts of dust days to prevent eye damage. If your eyes become very irritated, visit the eye doctor for a thorough optometry exam and treatment recommendations.
Everyone knows that UV rays cause sunburn, but did you know that UV exposure can also cause damage to your eye tissue? Intense exposure to UV rays for long periods of time may increase your risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye conditions that can negatively affect your vision. To prevent this kind of damage, find a pair of sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Just because the lenses are darker or the glasses more expensive, this does not mean better UV protection. When possible, choose wrap-around styles that do not let light in from the side. Also, sunglasses are not only for summertime or bright days; UV damage can occur year-round and can be especially bad during the wintertime when sunlight reflects off of ice and snow.
In general, the best rule to follow is to avoid taking chances with your eye health. Wear proper protection when heading outside, working with dangerous tools or chemicals, or participating in sports.