Our eyes are a window to the soul and the only senses we have to see what is going on around us. We should ideally be treating them with a lot of respect and care. In truth, however, we often treat our eyes with quite a bit of carelessness. Not only do we not look after them specifically but also we harm them unconsciously. Here are a few ways by which you may be harming your eyes, knowingly or otherwise.
Ways You Could Be Harming Your Eyes
1. Swimming Without Goggles
For most of us, swimming goggles are just another accessory. However, those who swim often know the effects that chlorine has on their eyes. Redness is just an outward sign, and research shows that chlorine in pools damages the corneal epithelium, and quite irreversibly so.1 Whenever you go swimming, be sure to carry your goggles along and actually wear them. A bit of inconvenience goes a long way in protecting your eyes.
2. Too Much Screen Time
That light-emitting diodes (LED) screens cause a disruption in our rhythm and reduced cognitive function is known.2 However, too much screen time also has some specific side effects for the eyes. For one, bright screens dry out the eye surface, leading to dry eyes, itching, and discomfort. Over time, dry eyes can become a chronic problem leading to the need for artificial tear solutions.3
3. Not Removing Eye Makeup
Our eyes often get made up quite a bit, from the usage of kohl and eyeliners to eye shadows and mascara. That is one too many products to put on your precious eyes! Traditionally, kohl was made by burning saturated fats such as clarified butter in low oxygen, thus resulting in the soot that could be applied in the eyes.
Most commercial kohl today is contaminated with lead to give it that extra dark sheen.4 Needless to say, lead being a radioactive substance, needs to stay well away from the eyes. Further, eye shadows have a huge counterfeit market, and these products may have very harsh chemicals that impact the eyes severely. It is advisable not to use makeup products on the eyes that you don’t fully trust. In the rare event where you do use them, apply olive oil to gently get the makeup off as soon as possible.
4. Overusing Contact Lenses
Several people all over the world use contact lenses as a way to avoid wearing glasses. Some people get quite careless with them, often forgetting that they are wearing lenses before washing their face or going to sleep. Proper care and removal of lenses are very important to keep the eyes healthy. Not doing so can lead to a very serious condition called ulcerative keratitis.
Let’s put it this way, you don’t want ulcers in your eyes!5 Wash and store contacts according to their package information. Always remember that contact lenses are a medical grade product and should be used as such. Never wear them for longer than the prescribed time and duration.
5. Rubbing Your Eyes Frequently
People with allergic rhinitis and dry eyes often rub their eyes vigorously to relieve the itch. Let’s just say that this is the worst thing you can do, both for the eyes and the condition affecting them. Our hands introduce pathogens and dirt into an already inflamed eye, leading to greater risk of infection. Moreover, rubbing serves to exacerbate the problem by rupturing the eye capillaries, thus causing pain over and above the itch.
If you have frequent eye itch, visit an eye doctor to identify the root cause. Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis causes those symptoms, as do dry eyes and allergies. Identifying the cause can help you treat the allergies effectively.
|↑1||Ishioka, Misaki, Naoko Kato, Akira Kobayashi, Murat Dogru, and Kazuo Tsubota. “Deleterious effects of swimming pool chlorine on the corneal epithelium.” Cornea 27, no. 1 (2008): 40-43.|
|↑2||Cajochen, Christian, Sylvia Frey, Doreen Anders, Jakub Späti, Matthias Bues, Achim Pross, Ralph Mager, Anna Wirz-Justice, and Oliver Stefani. “Evening exposure to a light-emitting diodes (LED)-backlit computer screen affects circadian physiology and cognitive performance.” Journal of Applied Physiology 110, no. 5 (2011): 1432-1438.|
|↑3||Tsubota, Kazuo, and Katsu Nakamori. “Dry eyes and video display terminals.” New England Journal of Medicine 328, no. 8 (1993): 584-584.|
|↑4||Parry, Carol, and Joseph Eaton. “Kohl: a lead-hazardous eye makeup from the Third World to the First World.” Environmental health perspectives 94 (1991): 121.|
|↑5||Mela, Ephigenia K., Ioanna P. Giannelou, Koliopoulos X. John, and Gartaganis P. Sotirios. “Ulcerative keratitis in contact lens wearers.” Eye & contact lens 29, no. 4 (2003): 207-209.|