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Bad Habits That Are Aging Your Eyes

Are you a night owl, fast food lover or sun worshipper? Chances are you are prematurely aging your eyes – inside and out. To keep your eyes young and attractive, try your best to avoid these bad habits:

Rubbing your eyes: The delicate skin around your eyes is one of the first areas to show signs of premature aging. Pulling and tugging at your eye lids can break tiny blood vessels and cause dark circles, dropping eyelids and crow’s feet. Rubbing our eyes also can cause eye infections, painful abrasions and even an increase in eye pressure that could increase your risk of glaucoma.

Smoking: No butts about it, smoking harms nearly every organ in your body – including your eyes. Quitting smoking (at any age) can reduce your risk for optic nerve damage, macular degeneration and cataracts, all of which can lead to vision loss.

Not Wearing Sunglasses: Ultraviolet rays can damage more than your skin. Extended sun exposure also can harm your eyes and lead to photokeratitis (sunburned cornea), cataracts, macular degeneration, growths on the eye and cancer of the eyelid. To protect your eyes from solar radiation, always wear quality sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays whenever you’re outside – even on cloudy days.

Eating Poorly: Nutrition plays a key role in eye health. A diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals can help prevent, slow down or alleviate the symptoms of many age-related eye diseases. You can obtain most eye-healthy nutrients through leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, and oily fish such as salmon. (We can provide you a list of foods.) If your diet is lacking, eye supplements can help fill in the nutritional gaps.

Not Hydrating: A high-sodium diet (fast food, anyone?) and failing to drink enough water can cause symptoms of dehydration – including dry, red and irritated eyes. Another reason to cut back on the salt and get sipping; chronic dehydration can cause wrinkles and premature aging of the skin around the eyes.

Getting Too Little Sleep: It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing! Your body needs downtime to replace and rebuild cells, and not enough quality shut-eye can accelerate the aging process – especially around the eyes. In addition to causing bloodshot and puffy eyes, dark under-eye circles and eye twitching, chronic lack of sleep can damage your optic nerve and impair vision. Shortage of sleep also can lead to dry eye syndrome, light sensitivity and blurring vision.

Not Having Regular Eye Exams: Sight-threatening eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration often have no warning signs. Regular eye exams can detect vision problems, eye disease and health problems even before you’re aware a problem exists, potentially adding years to a lifetime of healthy vision. It’s also important to inform your eye doctor of your family’s health history to help determine if you have a higher risk for developing a particular eye disease or condition.