Optometrist Reveals The 3 Habits That Are Wreaking Havoc On Your Eye Health

Though they may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to wellbeing, your eyes can reveal a lot about your health. From serious eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma to less severe but still frustrating ones like general eye irritation and redness, it's important to understand what the condition of your eyes could be telling you.

According to certified optometrist Dr. Ramin Rabbani of Eye Candy Optometry, we could all be making some crucial mistakes when it comes to our overall eye health. Dr. Rabbani is also involved with the high-quality lens company Shamir, which focuses on going above and beyond for customers and their eye health. 

In an exclusive chat with The List, Dr. Rabbani shared three habits that could be far more dangerous than they appear to be when it comes to our eyes. These three habits could cause expensive and irreversible future complications with your eyes that are far better to avoid if you can.

Some of these habits are everyday things you may not even think could be related to your eyes

Dr. Rabbani told The List that tobacco can have a massively negative effect on our eye health, so if you're a social smoker or a heavy one you might want to think twice before picking up that cigarette. Although it's known that smoking can have many side effects, Dr. Rabbani went into more detail about how detrimental it can really be, stating, "smoking tobacco can lead to macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, dry eyes, cataracts, and ultimately death." 

It sounds like scary stuff, and it is. Conditions like glaucoma and cataracts are difficult to work with and can result in severe vision loss if left untreated (via Healthline). The Macular Society states that smokers are four times more likely to develop macular degeneration, aka vision loss, as they age. Moreover, diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes, can cause vision loss too, though it usually can be controlled and treated if caught early enough, according to NHS

Everyday activities could be severely impacting your eye health too

Next, Dr. Rabbani revealed that it's important to limit our exposure to UV rays — basically, stay out of the sun. Much like smoking, frequent UV exposure can lead to conditions like early cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as "cancers of the eye, corneal degeneration, and pterygium." Pterygium is a condition that causes growths to appear on your eyes (via John Hopkins Medicine). It can cause irritation or, in worse cases, pain.

If you have a job where you can't stay out of the sun, invest in some high-quality UV protection sunglasses. Make sure that they actually contain UV protection, as there is a difference between polarized and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Finally, if you do a lot of near work, Dr. Rabbani shared that the hyper-focusing required for looking at things close up can "lead to increased myopia and ocular lengthening." These conditions increase the risk of developing more serious conditions like cataracts and glaucoma as you grow older (via National Library of Medicine). Don't worry though, as the Mayo Clinic states, you can also reduce myopia via corrective prescription lenses when caught early, or, in more developed cases, via refractive surgery. 

By reducing or stopping smoking, giving your eyes a break when working, and making sure they're always protected when you are outdoors, you can prolong your eye health for that little bit longer.