When we think about defending against the signs of aging, we often think of our joints or our skin. But our eyes need just as much care. In fact, people commonly do things that put excessive strain on their eyes, heightening their risk for vision difficulties later in life.
Dr. Norman J. Pastorek and our team know how important it is to protect your vision. That’s why Dr. Pastorek offers a variety of eye surgeries, including ones that help people see their best even as they age. To learn more about our eye procedures, you can visit our offices on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City and in Madison, Connecticut.
We also want to help you protect your eyes when you’re not at our offices, though. So here are three things to avoid:
1. Skipping the sun protection
Your skin isn’t the only thing that needs sun protection to avoid premature aging. The ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun can damage your eyes, heightening your risk for cataracts or growths on your eyes.
As you practice sun safety to protect your skin from the sun, do the same for your eyes. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that deliver UV protection can make a big difference.
2. Rubbing your eyes
Not only can rubbing your eyes scratch your corneas, but it also brings whatever bacteria is on your hands near your eyes. This can lead to conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.
Beyond that, excessive eye rubbing can lead to ptosis, or droopy eyelids. While Dr. Pastorek can correct this condition with a surgery called blepharoplasty, you’d probably prefer to never have to deal with eyelids that impede your vision and make you look older. So resist the urge to rub those eyes.
If they’re feeling itchy, it could be allergies. Trying an over-the-counter allergy medication and/or anti-itch eye drops can help you find relief without damaging your eyes. That said, don’t rely too heavily on eye drops since overuse can clog the glands in your eye. See an allergy doctor to treat your allergies so you’re not left trying to mask your symptoms.
Also, if you get something in your eye, like an eyelash or a piece of debris, don’t try to alleviate the sensation by rubbing your eyes. Instead, flush the affected eye with water or saline.
3. Looking at screens for too long
Screen time strains your eyes. If you work at a computer, try to give your eyes a break periodically. Every hour or so, look away from your screen and spend a few minutes focusing your eyes on something else.
Also, be mindful of how much screen time you’re getting at home, including time looking at your phone or watching TV.
Ultimately, our team wants to help you protect your ability to see — and look — your best through the years. If some physical aspect of your eyes are bothering you, like drooping eyelids, don’t hesitate to call one of our offices or schedule your appointment online today.