Monthly Archives: December 2014

Everyday Habits that Can Hurt Your Eyes

Eye Damaging HabitsIf you’re generally a health-conscious person, the chances are low that you would do anything to intentionally hurt your eyes. However, there are everyday habits that you may not realize are harmful to the health of your eyes. Here, Dr. Eric Donnenfeld, an ophthalmologist and LASIK surgeon, shares some everyday habits that can hurt your eyes.

Reading in Low Lighting

Reading in a poorly lit room can subject your eyes to unwanted strain. Also, if you read while lying on your back, adequate light cannot reach the book in your hands. Make sure your book is properly illuminated as you read.

Staring at Your Smartphone or Computer

Extended exposure to digital devices greatly fatigues the eyes. And, staring up at a computer can cause the eyes to widen and more eye fluid to evaporate, which contributes to dry eye.  To avoid eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.


Studies have shown that cigarette smoke can contribute to a number of serious eye conditions, including macular degeneration, cataracts, dry eye and diabetic retinopathy. One more reason to quit for good!

Reading While Moving

Reading in a moving vehicle strains the eyes, as they have a hard time focusing on the reading material. Reading while moving can also cause dizziness, headache and other symptoms of motion sickness. A great solution is to listen to an audiobook instead.

Wearing Your Contacts to Bed

Maybe this isn’t an everyday habit, but it happens often. Sleeping in contacts robs the cornea — the transparent covering of the front of the eye — of the oxygen, nutrients and lubrication it needs. In the worst-case scenario, continually sleeping in contacts can lead to a corneal infection and possible vision loss.

Eating a Bland Diet

A poor, “colorless” diet is bad for your eyes (not to mention, the rest of your body). For optimal eye health, eat a range of colorful fruits and vegetables, including carrots, kale and berries. These foods contain powerful antioxidants that can reduce the risk of eye problems, particularly age-related macular degeneration.

Not Wearing Proper UV Protection

UV light from the sun’s rays can damage the eye’s structures, similar to the way the light can harm the skin. The potential results of damage from long-term sun exposure are serious: cataracts, cancer, age-related macular degeneration and retinal damage. Pick out a pair of sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection. In environments like the beach, lake or snowy mountains, wear close-fitting wraparound glasses to be safe. Contact lens wearers may also want to explore lenses with built-in UV protection.

Rubbing Your Eyes

Likely the most common habit on this list, rubbing your eyes is harmful. Rubbing too hard can break tiny blood vessels under the eyelid and damage the eye’s lens. If your eyes become itchy, place a cold compress over them for several minutes, or gently rinse them with running water.

Contact Dr. Donnenfeld

For more information on keeping your eyes in optimal health, or treating an eye condition before it becomes more serious, please contact Dr. Eric Donnenfeld today.

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