Slideshow: 7 Bad Habits That Are Aging Your Eyes
Are you a night owl, fast food lover or sun worshipper? Chances are you're prematurely aging your eyes inside and out! Here's how...
Rubbing Your Eyes
The skin around your eyes is one of the first areas on your face to show signs of aging. Rubbing your eyes can break tiny blood vessels under the skin's surface and cause dark circles and puffy eyes, as well as premature crow's feet and drooping eyelids.
Botox injections and cosmetic eyelid surgery can rejuvenate the eye area, but prevention is best: refrain from pulling and tugging at the skin around your eyes.
Forgetting Your Sunglasses
Exposing your eyes to the sun's harmful UV and high-energy visible (HEV) rays is a surefire way to prematurely age and damage your eyes and eyelids.
Extended sun exposure leads to: sunburn of the front surface of the eye (photokeratitis); cataracts; macular degeneration; pinguecula and pterygium (unsightly growths on the eye); and even cancer of the eyelid.
Wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays and the most damaging HEV rays even on overcast days!
Smoking harms just about every organ in your body including your eyes. Research has linked cigarette smoking to sight-threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, uveitis, dry eyes and diabetic retinopathy.
In fact, smokers are up to four times more likely to go blind, compared with non-smokers. The good news is that quitting smoking, no matter what your age, can reduce your risk of developing a serious eye condition.
Eating too much fast food and not enough fruits and vegetables? Then you're probably not getting the necessary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids for optimum eye health.
Leafy greens, colorful fruit and vegetables, and wild-caught fish such as salmon can help prevent or manage many age-related eye diseases. Eye vitamins can fill in nutritional gaps, but a healthful diet, daily exercise and watching your waistline are more effective ways to keep your eyes in top shape.
Not Getting Enough Quality Shut-Eye
It's called beauty sleep for a reason: not enough sleep can accelerate aging, and your eyes may be the first to suffer! Lack of sleep causes red, bloodshot eyes, dark circles under the eyes, eye twitching, dry eyes and blurry vision.
Not Drinking Enough Water
Not getting the recommended eight glasses of water a day and eating a high-sodium diet can cause your body to dehydrate and in turn not produce enough tears to keep your eyes moist and properly nourished.
Eye-related symptoms of dehydration include dryness, redness and puffy eyelids.
Not Seeing Your Eye Doctor
Regular eye exams can detect vision problems, eye diseases and general health problems before you're aware problems exist.
Sight-threatening diseases such as glaucoma often have no warning signs until there is a permanent, irreversible loss of vision. Inform your eye doctor of your family's eye health history to help determine if you have a high risk for a particular eye disease or condition.
If you don't already, start scheduling regular eye exams for you and your family.
Maintaining healthy habits, like good nutrition, is important for your eyes, but some conditions can't be avoided.
About the Author: Aimee Rodrigues has many years of editorial experience in consumer publishing, with an emphasis on the health, pharmaceutical and beauty fields. Previously she was the executive editor for this website and wrote articles on eye conditions, sunglasses and other topics. Connect with Mrs. Rodrigues via Google+.
Page updated November 2015