Eye-care mis­takes that you should avoid mak­ing

There are daily oc­u­lar habits that can slowly ruin eye health. Here’s what you should avoid ac­cord­ing to oph­thal­mol­o­gists.

Shape (Malaysia) - - HEALTH HIGHLIGHT -

Not re­plac­ing your lenses as rec­om­mended

If you wear daily-use lenses, re­place them daily. If they’re monthly, switch monthly. “I’m al­ways sur­prised by how many peo­ple say they only switch to new lenses when their old pair starts both­er­ing them,” says Steine­mann. “Even if you’re fas­tid­i­ous about dis­in­fect­ing so­lu­tion, the lenses act like a mag­net for germs and dirt,” he ex­plains. Over time, your con­tacts will be­come coated with germs from your hands and your con­tacts case, and if you keep wear­ing them, those bugs will transfer to your eye.

Rub­bing your eyes

If you reg­u­larly rub your eyes, there’s rea­son to break the habit, says chief of cornea ser­vices at the Wills Eye Hospi­tal in Philadel­phia, Christo­pher Ra­puano, M.D. “Chron­i­cally wip­ing or rub­bing your eyes in­creases your chances of ker­a­to­conus, which is when the cornea be­comes thin and pointy, dis­tort­ing your vi­sion,” he ex­plains. Keep your hands away from your face, and use ar­ti­fi­cial tears or just tap wa­ter to flush out ir­ri­tants.

Us­ing anti-red­ness eye drops

Eye drops work by con­strict­ing blood ves­sels in the eye to re­duce the ap­pear­ance of red­ness. It doesn’t hurt but with daily use, your eyes es­sen­tially be­come ad­dicted to the drops, says Ra­puano. You’ll start to need more and the ef­fects will last for less time. And while the re­bound red­ness it­self isn’t nec­es­sar­ily harm­ful, it may dis­tract from what­ever was trig­ger­ing the ir­ri­ta­tion to be­gin with. If an in­fec­tion was the cul­prit, de­lay­ing treat­ment in favour of drops can be dan­ger­ous.

Show­er­ing in your con­tact lenses

All wa­ter—from the faucet, the pool, the rain—has the po­ten­tial to con­tain acan­thamoeba, says the Amer­i­can Academy of Oph­thal­mol­ogy clin­i­cal spokesper­son, Thomas Steine­mann, M.D. If this amoeba gets on your lenses, it can transfer to your eye where it can eat away at your cornea, lead­ing to blind­ness. If you leave your lenses in to shower, dis­in­fect them or toss them, and just use a new pair.

Sleep­ing in your con­tact lenses

“Sleep­ing in con­tact lenses in­creases your risk of in­fec­tion be­tween five and 10 times,” says Steine­mann. When you sleep in your lenses, any germs that do find their way onto your lenses are held against your eye for longer, mak­ing them more likely to cause prob­lems. The de­creased air­flow that comes with long-term con­tact wear also re­duces the eye’s abil­ity to fight in­fec­tion, adds Steine­mann.

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