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You’re probably familiar with the most common ways that you can hurt your eyes. Don’t stare at the sun (or go out without sunglasses), don’t smoke, don’t focus on one thing (especially a computer screen) for too long without taking a break. However, there are a lot more ways you could be hurting your vision and aging your eyes every day than you might think.

From rubbing at a spec of dirt trapped under your eyelid, to sleeping too little and not drinking enough water, you could be causing a lot of vision issues for yourself that could otherwise be easily prevented.

LEAVING YOUR EYES OPEN TO TINY TRAUMAS

Whether you’re mowing the lawn, using a bench grinder, handling cleaning chemicals, or doing any number of other things, you expose your eyes to a lot of tiny traumas on a daily basis. You might think that putting on protective eyewear to mow the lawn or clean the tub is a bit too much, but bits and pieces of dirt and splashes of cleaning chemicals can seriously damage your eyes.

Pay attention at work or play. If you’re doing something that causes a lot of debris to fly around, or if you’re handling harsh chemicals, it’s time to get the eye protection out.

ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BECOME DEHYDRATED

In the United States, our diets are packed with sodium and we rarely drink enough water. An estimated 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. When you don’t maintain good hydration, your body will use the water it has to keep your vital organs functioning, which leaves little water left for your eyes.

Drink at least 64 ounces of water every day to keep your tear ducts hydrated, which will enable them to better lubricate your eyes with tears whenever you blink or have something in your eye.

Also, if you stay hydrated, your skin will maintain moisture better, too. This will slow the visible effects of aging, including sagging or drooping eyelids, which can cause dry eye and other vision problems.

ALLOWING CHOLESTEROL AND BLOOD PRESSURE LEVELS TO SOAR

Increased cholesterol levels lead to increased blood pressure, which can lead to a lot of different problems. You may associate high blood pressure with heart disease, but that’s not the only risk. When you eat poorly and let your cholesterol levels rise, you’re putting yourself in danger of developing type 2 diabetes and, subsequently, diabetic retinopathy.

High blood pressure can also exacerbate cases of glaucoma. Both glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy can result in permanent vision loss. You can do your eyes a favor by watching your cholesterol intake and getting regular exercise to keep your blood pressure at normal levels.

SKIPPING THE EYE DOCTOR

Finally, how long has it been since you made an appointment with your eye doctor? If you wear prescription corrective lenses, you should get your eyes checked at least once every two years, if not annually or bi-annually, depending on your prescription and the condition of your eyes.

Failure to see the eye doctor regularly can lead to a lot of problems due to undiagnosed issues like glaucoma, torn retinas, etc. So, if you haven’t had an eye exam in years, make an appointment with your doctor ASAP.

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