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Your eyes are your windows to the world, so it's important to take good care of them. Things like seeing an eye doctor regularly, getting enough sleep, and giving your eyes regular breaks while you are using a computer can help keep your eyes in good health. If you are having problems with your vision, you should schedule an appointment with an optometrist as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn about some of the things you can do to help keep your eyes in good shape.
1. Visit an eye care practitioner regularly. These are trained professionals who specialize in looking after the health of your eyes. They can be ophthalmologists (eye doctors), opticians or optometrists. To keep your eyes in good health, have your eyes checked regularly or when you are having problems with your vision. Learn more about your eyes and ask your eye doctor questions when you have them. Learning more about your eyes and how to prevent eye diseases will help you to feel more in control of your health.
- If you don't have any vision problems, you should visit an eye care practitioner every 5-10 years during your 20s and 30s.
- If you don't have any vision problems, you should visit an eye care practitioner every 2-4 years between the ages of 40 and 65.
- If you don't have any vision problems, you should visit an eye care practitioner every 1-2 years after the age of 65.
2. Take your contacts out at the end of the day. Avoid wearing contact lenses for more than 19 hours. Wearing contact lenses for too long can cause permanent vision damage as well as extreme discomfort to your eyes.
- Never sleep with your contact lenses in unless your doctor specifically instructs you to do so. Your eyes need regular supplies of oxygen, and lenses block the flow of oxygen to the eyes, especially during sleep, so doctors recommend a normal break from wearing contact lenses for your eyes during the night.
- Do not swim in contact lenses unless you are wearing tight fitting swimming goggles. It's better to use prescription goggles if needed. It is fine to wear them in the shower providing you keep your eyes closed and avoid getting soap or shampoo in them.
- Always follow the instructions about using the contact lenses and the solutions from the manufacturer and your eye care practitioner. Also always wash your hands before handling them.
3. Remove your eye makeup at the end of the day. Always take time to remove your eye makeup before you go to bed. Never go to bed with your eye makeup still on. If you go to bed with mascara or eyeliner on, it can get into your eyes and cause irritation.
- Sleeping in your eye makeup can also cause the pores around your eyes to become clogged, which can lead to styes or (hordeolum). A severe sty can require antibiotics or even need to be removed by a doctor.
- Keep makeup remover pads near your bed for times when you are too tired to go through your nighttime cleansing routine.
4. Use allergen-reducing eye drops sparingly. Using an allergen-reducing eye drop during allergy season may help 'get the red out' and sooth itchiness, but daily use can actually make the problem worse. It can cause something called rebound redness, which results in excessive eye redness because eyes no longer respond to eye drops
- Allergen-reducing eye drops work by constricting the blood flow to the cornea, which deprives it of oxygen. So while your eyes don't feel inflamed and itchy anymore, they're actually not getting enough oxygen from the blood. That's not ideal because the eye muscles and tissues need oxygen to function. The lack of oxygen can even result in swelling and scarring.
- Read the labels of eye drops carefully, especially if you wear contacts. Many eye drops cannot be used while wearing contacts. Ask your eye care practitioner what kind of eye drops are okay to use with contacts.
5. Wear UV protective sunglasses. Always wear sunglasses when you are outside and the sun is shining. Look for sunglasses that have a sticker that specifies that the lenses block 99% or 100% of UVB and UVA rays.
- Prolonged exposure to UV rays can harm your eyesight, protection in youth can help prevent loss of eyesight in later years. Exposure to UV rays has been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula and pterygium, harmful conditions for the eyes.
- Since the damage to eyes from UV rays builds up over a lifetime, it's important to shield children from harmful rays. Make sure your children wear hats and protective glasses when they are out in the sunlight for prolonged periods.
- Be sure to wear sunglasses even if you're in the shade. Even though shade lessens UV and HEV exposure significantly, you're still exposing your eyes to UV rays reflected off of buildings and other structures.
- Never stare directly into the sun even if you are wearing UV sunglasses. The sun's rays are very powerful and can damage the sensitive parts of the retina if exposed to full sunlight.
6. Wear goggles when appropriate. Be sure to wear goggles or another eye protective wear when working with chemicals, power tools, or any place with harmful airborne particulates. Wearing goggles will help protect your eyes from any large or small objects that might hit you in the eye and cause damage.
7. Get plenty of sleep. Inadequate sleep may contribute to eye fatigue. Symptoms of eye fatigue include eye irritation, difficulty focusing, dryness or excessive tears, blurred or double vision, light sensitivity, or pain in the neck, shoulders, or back. Make sure that you get enough sleep every night to help prevent eye fatigue. Adults require about 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
8. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help prevent other diseases such as diabetes. By getting at least 30 minutes of exercise three times per week, you can reduce your chances of developing serious eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration.
9. Place cucumber slices on your eyelids to reduce puffiness. Press cold cucumber slices gently against eyelids for 10-15 minutes before going to sleep at night to help treat and prevent eyelid and under eye puffiness.
- Green tea bags may also help prevent puffiness if applied to the eyes. Soak the tea bag in cold water for a few minutes and place over eyes for 15-20 minutes. The tannins in the tea should help reduce inflammation.