Nobody wants to exhibit signs of premature aging on their face, and many people take precautions to avoid this. However, it is less common for people to take steps to avoid prematurely aging their eyes. Why is this? Perhaps it is because most individuals are not even aware they are practicing bad habits that are aging their eyes. To help set the record straight, Manhattan cataract and LASIK specialist Dr. Sandra Belmont shares seven bad habits that may be prematurely aging your eyes.
1. Neglecting to Wear Sunglasses
Wearing your sunglasses is an easy way to look fashionable. It is also an easy way to protect your eyes against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Overexposure to UV radiation can sunburn the surface of your eyes. It can also lead to certain eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, pterygium (a growth on the clear tissue of the eye that is often referred to as “Surfer’s Eye”) and other ocular conditions. To keep your eyes healthy, don’t forget to wear your sunglasses outside, even on cloudy days!
2. Rubbing Your Eyes
Rubbing the especially delicate skin around your eyes can damage the tiny blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin. It can also cause puffy eyes, dark circles and ultimately crow’s feet and sagging eyelids. No one can stop the natural aging process, but if you avoid rubbing and tugging on the sensitive skin around your eyes, you may be able to stave off the visible signs of aging around your eyes for a while longer.
3. Not Eating the Right Nutrients
Eating a lot of junk food may be doing more than adding inches to your waistline; it may also be aging your eyes. Nutrient-rich foods such as those containing beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and omega-3 fatty acids help keep your eyes healthy, so make sure to eat plenty of carrots, citrus, berries, dark leafy greens, almonds, eggs and wild-caught salmon, to maintain good eye health.
4. Not Drinking Enough Water
Do you suffer from puffy eyelids, dry eye or eye redness? These may be signs that you are dehydrated. Combat dehydration and keep your eyes looking youthful by drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day (more if you are extremely active or have eaten a meal that’s high in sodium).
If you need yet another reason to quit smoking, here it is: Smoking cigarettes can lead to serious eye diseases, including cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, among many others. In contrast to nonsmokers, smokers are up to four times more likely to develop permanent blindness. Fortunately, you can greatly decrease your risk of developing smoking-related eye diseases by quitting smoking now, no matter how old you are.
6. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can lead to a host of health problems, including weight gain and cardiovascular disease. It can also leave you with bloodshot eyes, eye twitches and blurry vision.
7. Skipping Your Annual Eye Exam
It is common for adults to visit the eye doctor only when they detect a problem with their vision. But it may be worth it to visit more often, because certain eye diseases, such as glaucoma, are much more manageable if treated in the early stages of the disease — and can cause permanent vision loss if left completely untreated.
Don’t prematurely age your eyes or, worse yet, gamble with your eyesight. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Belmont to check the health of your eyes, contact Belmont Eye Center by calling (212) 486-2020 or by clicking here.