Lifestyle Choices That Increase the Risk of Eye Diseases

Posted on: 26 January 2017

The way you live affects different aspects of your health, including the health of your eyes. Here are three lifestyle choices that aren't good for your eyes:

Not Minding Your Diet

Your diet affects all aspects of your life, including your eye health. Some foods interfere with your vision as well as those that improve your vision. For example, foods rich in saturated fats and sugars increase your risk of developing eye diseases. Saturated fats are found in dairy products and meat.

At the same time, foods rich in vitamins and healthy proteins reduce your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (macular degeneration is the breakdown of the light-sensitive part of the retina). Note that dietary guidelines change all the time as new discoveries are made; therefore, consult your physician before changing your diet for your health.


Smoking is another lifestyle choice that can affect your eye health. In fact, there is a range of diseases that have been directly attributed to smoking. Here are just a few examples:

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Glaucoma, which is deterioration of the optic nerve that sends visual information to your brain.
  • Dry eye syndrome, or damage to the blood vessels in the eye that causes irritation and burning sensations in the eye.

 Here, you have no choice but to stop smoking; the good news is that you can recover from some of the effects of smoking when you quit. Note that secondhand smoke is also dangerous; therefore, if you live with a smoker, you better move out or have a strict no-smoking policy in the house.

Exposing Your Eyes to the Sun

Most people know that exposure to too much sunlight increases the risk of cancer, but did you also know that it can affect your eyes? For example, short-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun induces photokeratitis, which makes the affected person feel as if there is a foreign object in their eyes. Repeated exposure to UV radiation can cause more serious eye conditions, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

If you have the choice, don't spend too much time in the sun. Whenever you are exposed to sunlight, take measures to protect your eyes just as you would protect your skin from overexposure. Protecting the eyes involve wearing a hat and sunglasses. Not just any sunglasses will do; some don't provide enough protection. Talk to your optometrist to help you choose the right sunglasses that will block as much harmful radiation as possible.

Hopefully, you will live a healthy lifestyle that won't expose you to eye disease. All isn't lost, however, if you are already living with an eye condition. The current advances state of eye care means that many conditions can be treated, and even for those that can be treated, your eye doctor can help you with tips on how to minimize your conditions effect on your life.