Currently the US population is about 300 million people, 75% of them, or about 225 million people wear corrective lenses whether they are glasses or contact lenses. That is an extremely high number, especially when compared to the statistics of 1980 where only 50% of the people wore glasses. That’s a 50% increase in just 30 years. Why is our eyesight getting worse and worse? Many are born with a less than perfect sphere for an eyeball and this is definitely a common reason for eye sight issues. The only known method to correct this problem is Lasik eye surgery; other than glasses and contact lenses, of course. However there are other things that we do that will cause this less than perfect vision. We will look at the top 5 reasons for this real concern and how to keep it from getting worse.
Focused staring is the number one reason for the loss of vision in America and most likely around the world. What does that mean? When you stare at something your eyes blink about 3 times slower than normal. So when you are watching TV, a movie at a theater, your computer screen, reading a book or staring at many other things, your eyes become dry and this creates damage to your eyes over time. There are things you can do to reduce the problem, other than avoiding these activities all together. When watching TV, take breaks during commercials. That doesn’t mean to stare at your computer screen during commercial breaks. Perhaps playing a hand or two with playing cards, it would the best if you could get a game that requires physical activity like play a game of ping pong, foosball, etc. a Nintendo WII would not help here; maybe get some fresh air outside; you can call someone, etc. Watching a movie at a theater is different. There are a few things you can do. You can buy the “tears” eyedrops, not the “get rid of the red” ones. Use that throughout your movie. Try to glance around the theater every once in a while. Maybe force yourself to take that annoying bathroom break during a slow part of the movie. You may have to get creative here but find something to do that doesn’t require you to stare at one unmoving object. Perhaps go to a play theater. You can apply these principles to your computer time, reading time, etc. A random fact, there is no evidence to suggest that reading in a darker causes any more damage than reading in a well-lit room.
The sun’s rays, or ultra-violet rays, are the number two reason for eye problems in our country. The ultra violet rays that come from the sun and tanning machines do massive damage to our eyes. Sunglasses with UV protection are an absolute requirement for everyone, in my opinion. The sun’s UV rays bounce off of many surfaces. They also pierce many surfaces. Just because you are turned away from the sun or are driving in your car doesn’t mean that you are protected from those damaging rays. In fact it is usually the most common situation where the sun’s damage takes place. I will also mention that it is crucial for you to wear eye protection when tanning. Closing your eyes does not stop the UV damage and in fact it is usually much worse because most of the time when we tan with our eyes closed, we lay in the direct rays of the sun or tanning machines, causing serious damage, much more than if we face away from sun.
As if there were not enough reasons to quit smoking tobacco. Smoking is the number three cause of loss of clear vision in America. Smoking cigarettes causes macular degeneration which is a problem where the part of our eye that sends the signals that it receives to the brain degenerates and less and less of the signal gets sent to the brain so our eye sight becomes poor. There is little else to say here except quit smoking, we all now know how horrible it is for us. This also includes snuff and chewing tobacco.
Injury to the eye is the fourth reason for loss of vision in America. It can be injured in a work environment with certain chemical gasses being in the air or pieces of debris flying into your eyes. It can be injured by contact sports with improper protection. A tackle without a helmet can cause very serious and likely to be permanent damage to the eye. Damage by fireworks and camp fire, specifically the sparks that fly out of the fireworks and camp fire can be the most dangerous kind because it happens so fast that even your eye lids may not have time to react. Then by the time that you can get to a hospital the damage is permanent and beyond repair. The only thing that can prevent this from happening is keeping a far away enough distance from the source of danger. You must also be vigilant in making sure that such fireworks are far enough away from children, which could be a difficult task since kids are usually very excited about fireworks and insist on playing with them.
Infections cause conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, and they can do damage to the eye and in severe cases even cause serious damage. Pink eye is a condition where a bacterial or a viral bug transfers to your eyes, most likely through using a towel or bedding that belongs to someone else. This is one of the reasons why we are told to not share towels, razors, and other personal items. If you do get infected you will need to go to a doctor to get a prescription. They do have an over-the-counter treatment, but it is not as effective.
Now that you know the things that you do in your daily life that cause your eyesight to get worse over time, you will be able to protect yourself. Keeping to these five steps will certainly help us, adults, to see better but it will be most beneficial when applied to our children before their eye sight is damaged.