BREAKING NEWS: Your everyday habits could be causing long-term damage to your eyes, without your even being aware of it.
“We all know we shouldn’t do things like stare directly at the sun,” said ophthalmologist Sandy Feldman MD, Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center in San Diego. “But even if you think your vision seems fine now, your actions today could cause vision problems years on down the road.”
Five common culprits to be mindful of:
1. Staring at screens too long
Consider all the screens you encounter on a daily basis - your smartphone, computer, TV, tablet, etc. While prolonged screen time likely won’t cause permanent damage to your eyes, it can cause stress in the visual system - eye strain, headaches, difficulty focusing and other symptoms that can impact quality of life.
“Telling people to avoid screens all together isn’t realistic,” said Dr. Feldman. “But you practice the 20-20-20 rule. Simply look away from the screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds, and look instead at an object that’s at least 20 feet away. It’s a great way to refresh your eyes.”
2. Not wearing sunglasses
The sun’s harmful rays can impact our eyes even on cloudy days. Sun exposure over time can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss in older adults.
“Sunglasses can help protect against that damage, but it’s important to wear high-quality sunglasses that filter at least 95 percent of the harmful rays of the sun,” Dr. Feldman advised.
3. Smoking cigarettes
In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, smoking cigarettes is bad for your eyes, too. It can increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
4. Not eating your veggies
Mom was right - load up on vegetables! They can help maintain the health of certain parts of the eye.
“Veggies have antioxidants and vitamins that can protect the health of the retina, which lines the back wall of the eye,” Dr. Feldman said. “And leafy green vegetables, like kale and spinach, may help those benefits last even longer.”
5. Avoiding the eye doctor
Even if your vision seems fine, an annual eye exam is still important for a number of reasons. Damage to your eyes can happen without you noticing or feeling it. For example, about half of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it because there are often no symptoms. During an exam, an eye doctor may find early signs of other health problems too, even ones that have nothing to do with your vision.
“There’s a host of medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, that can show up in the eyes long before they show up elsewhere,” Dr. Feldman said.
WHO CAN TELL YOU MORE: Dr. Sandy Feldman, one of the nation’s most respected ophthalmologists and LASIK experts.
CONTACT ME: I can arrange an interview with Dr. Feldman to discuss this or any other eye-related topic. Contact Diana Soltesz at [email protected] or 818-618-5634.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Sandy T. Feldman, MD is the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center - voted best LASIK center in San Diego by the San Diego Union Tribune (2016 and 2017) and CityBeat Magazine two years in a row. Her numerous awards include “Top Doc San Diego” and the Goldline Award, an honor granted to only 10 laser eye care providers in the U.S. each year. She has also been profiled in Forbes, Newsweek, and other respected publications. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the prestigious American College of Ophthalmic Surgeons, as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. She has successfully performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures. For more information, visit clearvieweyes.com.
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