7 surefire ways to sabotage your eyes

Whether you're a nail-biter, a tailgater, or an interrupter, you probably don't notice your bad habits until someone else points them out. Well, we're going to be "that person" and call attention to a few shortcomings you might need to shake. And there's no surprise here—each of these habits is taking a toll on your eyes.

Francesca Johnson, a VSP doctor at Branford Optometric Associates in Branford, CT helped us nail down these 7 common bad habits for eyes and their negative effects. How many have you fallen prey to lately?

What you're doing Why it's bad for you
Sleeping in contacts » Less oxygen flows to the cornea when contacts sit on the eyes overnight. Over time, this can cause infection, red eyes, excess tearing, and other corneal damage.
Ditching sunglasses » Damage from UV rays can lead to blindness, inflammation of the cornea and conjunctiva, permanent damage, and a possible risk of melanoma.
Sleeping in your makeup » Residual eye makeup is a prime target for bacterial growth and can lead to infection, brittle lashes, and irritated and dry skin around the eyes.
Re-using contact lens solution » Contact solution loses its disinfectant quality when you reuse it. Contaminants can stick to your contact case, polluting clean solution and posing a threat of infection.
Smoking » Smoking increases your risk of heart disease, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and cancer.
Eating junk » Consistently poor food choices amplify the likelihood of developing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, AMD, high intraocular pressure, and blindness.
Losing sleep and stressing » Lack of sleep and high stress can cause dry eyes, under eye bags, hypertension, bloodshot eyes, high blood pressure, blurry vision, eyelid twitching, and eye strain.

Odds are most of us could use some improvement in at least one of these areas. But overcoming a bad habit is difficult—it takes a lot of determination and perseverance. We suggest starting with these 3 simple steps. You may just surprise yourself with your progress!

How to break a bad habit
  1. Recognize it. Ignorance will get you nowhere when it comes to eye health. Take some time for an honest self evaluation by asking, "How many of these things am I guilty of?"

  2. Write it down. Once you've identified your weakness, write it down. There's something about having a written record that increases your awareness as well as your resolve to do better.

  3. Replace it with something else. Without something to fill the gap, it's easy to slip back into the bad habit you're trying to shake. Is junk food your problem? Replace it with something healthier. Smoking? Try gum.

You might have to get creative, but it is possible to break that bad habit of yours. For more tips on how to stop these habits or treat their effects, visit your VSP doctor.

The content of this article is for general informational awareness purposes only. Please consult your eyecare doctor or physician for actual advice.

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