Assaults on the Eyes

We lather ourselves up with suntan lotion at the beach, fearing a sunburn if we don’t. We trim the fat off a steak, hoping we’ll keep our cholesterol in check. Yet, we go about our daily lives without thinking much about what might be damaging our eyes. We’ll read a book in dim light or head out for a walk without sunglasses. We’ll work at the computer all day and then spend more time on it at night. Why do we take protective measures when it comes to the rest of our bodies but tend to neglect our eyes?

  • Smoking – Smoking increases the risk for cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and dry eye syndrome. Just the thought of getting smoke in our eyes can help us understand how smoking can damage our sight. But smoking also increases the risk for a broad range of illnesses and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity that can also impair vision.
  • Sunlight – While we all crave some time in the sun, we need to be cautious of UV light, not only because of the damage it can do to the skin, but the damage it can do to eyes. Long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays and blue light increases the risk for cataracts and can also damage the retina.
  • Technology – Whether it’s the glare of the screen, the angle of the device, poor picture quality or the lighting in the room, using a computer, a tablet or smart phone can damage eyes. There’s even a name for it — computer vision syndrome (CVS).
  • High-Energy Blue Light – High-energy blue light is part of the visible spectrum of light. Most of us know to protect our eyes against the sun, but high-energy blue light from digital screens and energy-efficient lighting bombards our eyes daily and may lead to eye strain and fatigue and eventually vision loss. Learn more about high-energy blue light »
  • Bad Eating Habits – Poor diets may also lead to various eye diseases since several nutrients – particularly those found in green leafy vegetables – may help protect your vision. A diet rich in carotenoid-packed vegetables and fruits have been linked to the maintenance of eye health.
  • Alcohol Consumption – Heavy drinking, defined as consuming four or more drinks per day, increases the risk for cataracts, while drinking three or more drinks per day increases the risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).