Daily mistakes that ruin your eyes
With work from home arrangements in place for most of us, our eyes have been working at full throttle now more than ever. From poring over e-documents and excel sheets on our screens to watching back-to-back Netflix shows at night, our eyes have been working OT to do it all.
Working from home also means we go from work to play in mere seconds without giving our eyes a much-needed break. But beyond overexposure to blue light, here are a handful of other everyday mistakes we’re all guilty of that are slowly but surely ruining our eyesight.
1. Watching Netflix in bed at night
After an exhausting day at work, there’s no better way to unwind than to binge-watch our favourite Netflix dramas. And on top of that, snuggling up in bed with the lights out and a film on is an experience so cosy, it can even rival that of a cinema. The only caveat is, that your eyes don’t take to the changing light levels from your laptop or phone screen too kindly.
Our screens constantly emit changing levels of light which forces our eyes to work harder to adjust to it. To make matters worse, our PCs, laptops and phones also emit dreaded blue light that disrupts our sleeping patterns and keeps us up at night.
If using your phone in pitch darkness is part of your night routine, then you’re probably familiar with dry, tired eyes and frequent headaches.
2. Rubbing your eyes vigorously
Resisting the urge to rub itchy eyes is near impossible – we know it’s bad, but we do it anyway.
While rubbing our eyes gives us temporary satisfaction, unbeknownst to us, that rubbing motion gives rise to tiny scratches on our eye’s cornea – a transparent barrier covering the eye. Do it enough and permanent vision damage might be on the cards for you.
Tiny blood vessels may also be broken in the rubbing process, which gives rise to that dreaded bloodshot look no one wants to have.
3. Using the wrong type of eye drops
Walk into any pharmacy’s optical care section and you’ll be greeted with a diverse range of different eye drops. Fact is, the type of eye drop you choose matters significantly, as picking the wrong product can further aggravate your current condition.
Here’s a little science-y summary – your cornea is covered by a three-layer tear film, specifically the oil, water and mucin layer. Different eye drops only act on specific layers of the tear film, so that’s why some eye drops may be ineffective in helping you relieve your eye-related discomforts.
If you’re looking for an all-purpose eye drop, then Alcon’s Systane Complete Lubricant Eye Drops is one product that works on all three of the tear film’s layers to offer fast-acting hydration and dry eye relief.
4. Sleeping with contact lenses on
We’ve all heard horror stories of the contact lenses getting “lost” in your eye, but the real danger lies in us sleeping with them on. Before you laugh at the improbability of that happening, just know that it’s very possible after a long night out – especially if we’ve got a few drinks in our system.
Sleeping with contacts on cuts the amount of oxygen and moisture your eyes need to “breathe” and they go into a state called hypoxia. This means they’re unable to fight bacteria so you’re six to eight times more vulnerable to infections.
5. Applying eyeliner to your waterline
Adding eyeliner to your waterline works wonders to enlarge your eyes and is key to nailing that sultry makeup look. But what many of us don’t know is that this look comes at the price of blocked oil glands and infected eyes.
Your waterline is a delicate, slippery surface, so even those with steady hands may find themselves occasionally jabbing their eye with their eye pencils. That aside, the tip of the eye pencil is teeming with millions of microscopic bacteria that can leave your eyes prone to infection too.
Even dedicated eye waterline pencils may still contain colourants that irritate sensitive eyes, so it’s best to be safe than sorry.
6. Staring at your laptop or phone screen for more than 20 minutes
Prolonged usage of our digital devices is seemingly unavoidable during this WFH period, as we attend Zoom meetings and answer emails all day. But taking breaks in between your heavy workload is crucial, as uninterrupted screen time lasting longer than 20 minutes can irritate your already tired eyes.
Naturally, your blink rate is around 15 times – this works to keep your eyes well-hydrated. However, studies have proven that staring at your screen for over 20 minutes decreases your blink rate to half or even a third of that. And when your eyes aren’t cleaning themselves as often as they should, this leads to digital eye strain, dry eyes and blurry vision.
Solution: To alleviate this, actively take breaks from your screen every now and then. 20 seconds is the optimal amount of time your eyes need for them to recover, so bear the 20-20-20 rule in mind. Look about 20 feet away from you for 20 seconds after 20 minutes of screen time.
7. Not wearing sunglasses out regularly
Grabbing a pair of sunnies isn’t the first thought that pops up when we think about combating Singapore’s sweltering heat, but maybe it should be. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage to the eyes even if you’re not staring directly at it. No thanks to the fact that they can reflect off surfaces.
Long-term exposure to those UV rays can also lead to cataracts forming in your eyes. This clouds the lens of your eye, and leads to a slew of hindrances such as blurry or double vision and being unable to see properly at night.
8. Spending too much time in an air-conditioned room
We’re used to our offices being a freezy respite from the scorching midday sun. Some of us have even taken to working with the A/C during office hours even when we’re working from home because it makes us more productive.
If you can 100% relate to this, you should know that air-conditioners reduce the humidity of a room, and this artificial change blocks your eyes’ oil glands and gives rise to evaporative dry eye – the most common dry eye phenomenon.
Redness, itchiness, strained eyes and blurry vision are also other symptoms you may experience if you’re in an air-conditioned environment for too long. Not to mention air-con filters aren’t exactly the cleanest of areas either, and the build-up of mould and virus particles hiding within your A/C unit can cause further inflammatory damage to your eyes.
Do make sure to schedule regular cleaning and maintenance to rid your A/C of all those germs!
9. Not wearing goggles when swimming
A swim during a family outing or staycay is always refreshing. Not to spoil the mood, but here’s a gentle reminder that pool water is filled with a ton of nasty unseen bacteria that can infect your eyes. Sweat, saliva, sunscreen, mucus, urea and fecal matter are just some of the other yuckies lurking in pool water so you should always protect your eyes with goggles.
Furthermore, not only does the added chlorine in pools work to kill germs in pool water, it’s so powerful a chemical that it also strips away the protective tear film of your eye leaving you susceptible to redness and irritation.
Protect your eyes from dryness with with Alcon eye drops
Getting dry eyes is all too common these days, especially when we aggravate it further by making any one of these 9 everyday mistakes that ruin our eyes. If you’re looking for a one-stop solution for your overtaxed eyes, then eye care specialist Alcon’s new Systane Complete is an all-encompassing eye drop to solve your dry eye needs.
One drip is more than enough to tide you through the day as the Alcon Systane Complete works on all three of the tear film’s layers, and gives you 8 hours worth of eye relief and protection.
A niggle we have with our eye drops is that they expire fast, and by fast we mean a month or so after we’ve opened the bottle. The Alcon Systane Complete has a shelf life of 3 months after opening, so you won’t have to worry about wasting money or product if you only use it sparingly.
If you’re keen on trying it out, you’re in luck because Systane Singapore is giving away a limited quantity of 3ML samples of Systane Complete*. If you’re a Singaporean with a local mailing address, three steps are all you need to grab your hands on one.
- Head on down to Systane Singapore’s Facebook page
- Drop them a like on the page
- Slide into their DMs mentioning the code “TSLxSystane” to redeem your free sample – it’s that simple.
*Limited to one redemption per address
You can purchase the Alcon Systane Complete at your local pharmacy like Guardian and Watsons at a retail price of $19.95. E-commerce sites Lazada and Shopee also carry the product, so feel free to browse online if that’s your go-to method for necessities.
Of course, a good eye drop functions even better if we use it while keeping careful consideration of our own habits. So let’s eradicate these 9 everyday mistakes from our routine, so we can preserve our vision as we push past Phase 2 into Phase 3.
This post was brought to you by Alcon.
Photography by Huy Pham.