Your eyes are a complex part of the human body, so you must take care of them. There are many things that damage your eyesight, and knowing about them is the first step to taking care of your eye health. Surprisingly, many of these eye-damaging habits can harm your vision.

Research shows that 80% of your memories and the things you learn occurs through your eyes. Plus, most vision-related problems could be cured or prevented with proper care of the eyes. With this being the case, protecting your eyes can make all the difference in your life.

You can’t always control changes in your eyesight, but you can avoid damaging it further. Once you know the things that damage your eyesight, you can make the necessary changes to improve your health.

19 Surprising Things That Damage Your Eyesight

Protect the health of your eyes by knowing what can affect eyesight negatively.

things that damage your eyesight
1. Rubbing Your Eyes

Rubbing your eyes, particularly when itchy, can damage your eyesight by exposing your eyes to germs. Plus, rubbing causes unnecessary pressure and can cause damage to the surface of your eyes. Research shows that excessive eye rubbing can cause corneal damage and break the vessels around your eye.

Check to make sure there is nothing in your eye, and flush them gently with water. Rubbing your eye when something is in it can cause the debris to get further into your eye. If you need some relief, use a cold compress instead of rubbing your eyes.

2. Excessive Screen Time

Most people look at a screen multiple times each day. It’s a normal part of life, but spending too much time can cause eyestrain. When you’re looking at a screen, you are less likely to blink, causing you to have dry, red, and itchy eyes.

Vision problems related to screen time have become so common that experts have started calling it Computer Vision Syndrome. If you have to look at a screen for an extended time, take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.

3. Smoking

Smoking causes many health problems, and damaging your eyesight is one of them. The chemicals found in cigarette smoke can damage tissue and cause macular degeneration, leading to vision loss. It can also cause cataracts and glaucoma.

While it isn’t always easy to stop smoking, doing so is essential to your health. Start by decreasing the amount you smoke each day until you can quit.

4. Unhealthy Diet

Your eyes need specific nutrients and vitamins to stay healthy, including vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrient deficiencies can cause blindness as it damages the optic nerve.

Some of the foods that contain nutrients for eye health include:

  • leafy greens
  • seafood
  • nuts
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • beans

5. Not Wearing Eye Protection

Not wearing eye protection is a sure way to damage your eyesight. When swimming, wear protective goggles to keep chemicals, dirt, and anything else out of your eyes. You should even wear eye protection when doing yard work like mowing the lawn.

Anytime debris can potentially get into your eye, take precautions and use eye protection. Some other instances that require eye protection include:

  • working on home improvement projects
  • using chemicals
  • working on a vehicle
  • using cooking oil
  • playing sports
  • while at work

6. Lack Of Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can make your eyes red, puffy, and itchy. A lack of sleep will cause eye twitching, dry eyes, blurry vision, and pain. These symptoms will cause temporary damage to your eyesight, but the damage can become permanent.

If your lack of sleep goes on for too long, your eyesight can become permanently damaged. It can even lead to popped blood vessels and light sensitivity.

7. Excessive UV Exposure

UV rays damage your eyes just as much as they damage your skin. Make sure to wear sunglasses when you go outside, even if it is cloudy, and never look directly at the sun. Please pay attention to the sunglasses you get, though, because not all of them offer protection from UV rays.

8. Missing Regular Eye Doctor Checkups

Skipping eye doctor appointments is one of the biggest things that damage your eyesight. Preventative care can prevent and treat many vision problems. Make sure you get your eyes checked once each year and visit the ophthalmologist anytime you think something is off.

9. Wearing Contact Lenses Too Often

Keeping contacts in for too long can cause loss of vision and scarring. Experts say that leaving them in for too long also restricts oxygen exposure that can damage your eyesight. Damage also occurs when you wear contact lenses too often, as you don’t give your eyes a chance to breathe.

things that damage your eyesight
10. Sleeping With Your Makeup On

When you don’t remove your makeup at night, it increases your risk of eye damage. It allows bacteria and parasites to grow along your eyelids and eyelashes. Then, the organisms secrete toxins that get into your eye and cause irritation, redness, and itching.

If this process happens too often, it can cause permanent damage to your eye. It can damage the area that secretes tears, causing chronic dry eye and other problems.

11. Overusing Eye Drops

Eye drops can offer temporary relief occasionally, but overusing them can damage your eyesight. These drops constrict your blood vessels, and overuse can lead to even more redness. The American Academy of Ophthalmology explains that eye drops don’t improve your eye health and can cause irritation when used too often.

12. Wearing Contact Lenses In Water

Swimming with contact lenses in your eyes can cause an infection because it allows bacteria to get in. You can develop a rare infection from an acanthamoeba, which is a microorganism that lives in freshwater. This infection can cause permanent damage to your vision.

If you can’t see when you’re swimming, try using prescription swimming goggles instead of wearing your contacts. Take your contact lenses out before you take a shower, too.

13. Sleeping With Your Contact Lenses

You might be tempted to fall asleep with your contacts in when you’re exhausted, but it can damage your eyesight. Sleeping with your contact lenses in your eyes can cause infection, chronic dry eye, and microscopic damage to your cornea. Ophthalmologist Benjamin Bert at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center explains that sleeping with contacts in your eyes can also cause ulcers.

When you sleep with contact lenses in your eyes, bacteria can cling to the lens. Plus, it limits the amount of oxygen that can get to your cornea. A lack of oxygen causes the growth of abnormal capillaries as an attempt to replenish oxygen levels.

14. Undiagnosed Medical Conditions

Many medical conditions can cause vision loss and other eye problems. When the health concerns are undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to complicated issues for your eyes.

Diabetes can cause diabetic eye disease, which is one of the leading causes of blindness. Additionally, high blood sugar can cause blood vessels to leak into your eye. A study published in The Journal of Ophthalmology explains that sleep apnea can also cause damage, as it increases the risk of developing glaucoma.

These medical conditions aren’t the only ones that damage your eyesight, either. Visit your doctor regularly to keep up with your health and get the proper treatment.

15. Not Following The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule is a method to relieve eye strain for people that sit in front of a computer all day. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that for every 20 minutes of screen time, you should shift your eyes to an object 20 feet away from you. Then, keep your focus on that object for at least 20 seconds.

This rule helps with readjusting your eyes and giving them a moment to relax. As you look at the object, remember to blink. Blinking cleanses and lubricates the surface of your eye, promoting eye health and protection.

16. Using Expired Makeup

Use fresh makeup to preserve healthy eyes.

Wearing expired makeup can spread bacteria and increase your risk of developing an eye infection. Expired makeup can also cause eye irritation and redness. Consider replacing your mascara and other makeup items every three months.

17. Stress

Research shows that chronic stress increases cortisol, a stress hormone that negatively affects the nervous system. When your nervous system isn’t functioning correctly, it can affect your eyes and brain, causing vision problems.

Find healthy coping techniques to help you overcome stress in your life. Consider things like exercise, spending time with your friends or loved ones, or practicing meditation.

18. Excessive Drinking

Drinking too much alcohol can cause vision problems related to dry eye. Many reasons factor into this, but watch for the signs and consider if you’re drinking too much. Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • stinging or burning sensations
  • light sensitivity
  • redness
  • eye fatigue
  • discomfort when wearing contact lenses

19. Dehydration

If you aren’t drinking enough water, your eyes are often one of the first things to suffer. When the eye surface is dehydrated, it can cause damage to your vision. If the dehydration lasts too long, it can cause cracks and scar tissue development.

things that damage your eyesight
Final Thoughts on Surprising Things That Damage Your Eyesight According to an Ophthalmologist

There are a surprising number of things that damage your eyesight. Knowing and understanding potential risks can help you maintain or improve the health of your eyes.

Every time you do one of the things that damage your eyesight, you are causing further problems. If your lifestyle habits are damaging your eye health, protect your eyes before the condition worsens.