#Trending 5 Thing You Should Never do to Your Eyes

 Sleeping in contacts. “The worst behavior that I see in my clinical practice that causes severe eye injury stems from sleeping in contact lenses. There has been a marketing movement over time that encouraged wearing contact lenses overnight. In reality, this is quite dangerous. When people sleep in contacts, the surface of the eye, the cornea, does not get enough oxygen; this places a patient at a very high risk for infection from bacteria. And sadly, the bacteria that grow under these circumstances can cause blindness in less than 24 hours. Every year, my office treats many patients whose vision is permanently impaired by sleeping in contact lenses. Contact lenses should never be worn overnight, nor should we ever swim or shower in them.” 

Forgetting to wear safety glasses. “Wearing safety glasses is an easy mode of protecting our eyes that frequently is neglected. Unfortunately, the doctors in my office spend a lot of time removing pieces of metal, glass, wood and other objects from inside people's eyes. These types of injuries can cause symptoms ranging from mild irritation and a scratchy feeling to severe pain and chronic vision loss. The most common problem that I see of this type: small pieces of metal from people working on cars. The metal pieces fly into the eye and embed. These pieces then must be carefully removed with special instruments in an attempt to preserve vision. Wearing safety glasses can usually prevent these types of injuries.” 

Using drops that target red eyes. “In the realm of eye drops that are available over-the-counter at the drugstore, there is one type of eye drop to always avoid. This is the type of drop that states it is for red eyes, or removing the red from eyes. These drops contain a chemical that causes the blood vessels on the eye to constrict, which does make the eye appear temporarily whiter, but the same eye drops actually cause further irritation of the eye. This then causes the eye to look redder when the immediate whitening effect wears off. Consequently, because the eye is red again, another drop is required to remove the redness caused by the drops. This causes an unhealthy cycle of eye drop dependence. If your eyes feel dry or irritated, the best option is to use a type of drop called artificial tears, or lubricant eye drops. These drops are safe and can often help the eyes to feel better. These are available over-the-counter and do often help with eyes that are dry, scratchy, red, sore and sometimes but rarely, blurry vision. If any problem persists despite the use of a lubricant eye drop, call your eye doctor immediately.”

Neglecting to wear sunglasses. “Sunglasses provide a great help to maintain healthy eyes over our lifetime. The advantages can be immediate and long-term. Sunglasses in the short term can help us to see more clearly, as they eliminate glare as well as help with the ability to see contrasting colors. Another short-term advantage stems from the protective role of sunglasses against objects injuring the eye, such as sand on the beach or pebbles that pop up when mowing the lawn. Long-term advantages include protecting the eyes from the sun's harmful effects. The sun is just as bad for the eyes as it is for the skin over time. The sun can cause colored spots to appear on the white part of the eye, which can be cosmetically bothersome. Also, the sun can cause damage to the retina, which is the most important part of the eye. This damage can be permanent and blinding. Wearing sunglasses when outside, even when the sky is cloudy, is a quick, easy way to protect the eyes.” 

Ignoring a change in your eyes or vision. “The eye has wonderful ways of telling us when something is wrong, and that’s through a set of symptoms that often get overlooked. Some of these symptoms can be signs of very dangerous changes within the eye. A good example is the simple signs of the beginning of a retinal detachment, which is a condition wherein the retina (the seeing organ of the eye) tears away from the wall of the eye. The classic symptoms of this include seeing flashing lights in the vision, a change in a patient's floaters (the little specks on the vision that look like bubbles or insects), or any notable change in the vision, such as a new blind spot. Early detection for this condition can save a patient’s vision. Sadly, these symptoms are frequently overlooked until a problem is much worse, and could even require surgery. There are other warning signs that always mean that you should call your doctor: redness, sensitivity to light, vision changes or pain in the eye. If you ever experience these or other new symptoms, please call your eye doctor.” 

Sarah Ruth

Sarah Ruth

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