Common causes of bad eyesight can be rooted in habits and lifestyles as well as linked to preexisting health concerns. Certain family medical history can also help you to predict the onset of eyesight problems. Eliminating age-related sight problems, refractive errors (such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism) are currently the most common eye problems in the United States. With that being said, what are the causes behind these sight problems?

Causes of Poor Eyesight

While poor eyesight can, and of is, hereditary, there are habits you may have formed that will eventually lead to diminished vision. The following are some of the most common bad-for-you habits to cut back on.

1. Too Much Screen Time

Working for long hours on the computer or reading on your smartphone can lead to dry eye, blurry vision, and other health concerns. Computer eye strain can be combated with digital screen protection glasses but you should be monitoring your hours of screen time. Take regular breaks every twenty minutes to look away from the screen, observe an object in the distance, and give your eyes a break. You should also blink slowly about ten times to help lubricate your eyes.

2. Low Water Intake

If you don’t drink enough water your eyes are more likely to become dehydrated. This will result in puffy, dry, red eyes. There isn’t an exact number of cups to drink a day. You should try to consume around 15.5 cups as a male or 11.5 cups as a female. The best judge of hydration, however, is urine color. Aim for urine that is light yellow in color. Clear urine may be a sign you are overhydrating.

3. Poor Diet

Just as you should be paying attention to your water intake, you should watch the food you’re putting into your body. A bad diet is bad for your eyes. Foods our eyes love include leafy greens, eggs, nuts, and seafood.

4. Lack of Sleep

Eye fatigue and strain can set in once a person begins getting less than six to eight hours of sleep per night. You aren’t the only one who needs rest. When you get enough sleep you also give your eyes time to be continuously lubricated.

5. Rubbing Eyes Too Often

Rubbing your eyes may seem like a harmless habit but it can actually lead to new or worsening eye problems. If you rub your eyes too often you can cause myopia and glaucoma to worsen, both directly affecting your eyesight. Keratoconus can actually be started due to excessive eye rubbing. This is when the cornea reshapes and thins into a cone shape when it should be round.

6. Skipping Out On Eye Exams

Optometrists are able to detect vision problems and eye diseases during regular eye exams. When you avoid these exams you may not catch developing problems as quickly. Without a warning sign, you have little preventative measure against these issues. While scheduling an appointment with an optometrist may seem like a hassle at first, it’s a smart long-term investment in your eye health.

7. Smoking

When you think smoking and health problems, your eyes probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind. While heart disease and lung cancer are major concerns for smokers, vision loss is too. The most common eye condition risks worsened by smoking are age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, dry eye, and cataracts. In fact, smokers are more likely to develop AMD compared to non-smokers. Four times more likely to be exact. Smokers are also more likely to develop cataracts.

8. Not Protecting Eyes from Sunlight

Did you know you can sunburn your eyeballs? Pretty wild, right. Photokeratitis is a sunburn on the surface of the eye. But sunburnt eyes are only one of the problems that arise when you don’t wear sunglasses often enough. Those who don’t protect their eyes from the sun are more likely to develop macular degenerations, cancer, and cataracts.

9. Working for Prolonged Periods in Dim Light

Just as staring at a screen all day can hurt your eyes, working in dim light can lead to similar problems. Your eyes have to work harder to focus which can tire them out leading to eye fatigue. But just as dim light is bad for your eyesight, bright light isn’t much better. Check your workspace and home and make any necessary changes to help relieve your eyes.

Health Concerns That Can Result in Eye Problems

Certain conditions can be linked to eye problems or eventually result in the development of eye problems. If you have a family history or personal history of any of the following conditions, you should speak with your optometrist about any preventative measures you should be taking to protect your sight. The following are conditions that may result in worsening eyesight:

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Preeclampsia
  • Psoriasis
  • Migraine

Is Bad Eyesight Genetic?

Myopia and hyperopia (nearsightedness and farsightedness) are often genetically linked. If one or both of your parents have myopia or hyperopia there’s a stronger chance you will develop this refractive error as well. Other eye problems that are considered to be genetically-linked include color blindness or color vision deficiency and retinitis pigmentosa. Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are more serious eye-related concerns that have the potential to be genetically-linked. If you have a family history of these conditions you should take extra measures to ensure your eyes are regularly

Can You Improve Your Eyesight?

There’s no quick fix for better eyesight. But, you can alter your diet to consume more Vitamin A and lutein which are both beneficial for vision. Try adding carrots, Brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and spinach to your meal plan. It won’t make changes overnight but it can help with seeing in low light and at night over time. The best way to improve your eyesight is with corrective lenses, rather those be glasses or contact lenses. Currently, 11 million Americans over the age of 12 could benefit from refractive correction. Schedule an appointment with your optometrist to learn more about improving your eyesight.



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