Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

By now most of us know: pretty = healthy. If you want pretty skin, you need to make sure we have a fully stocked beauty arsenal. If you want a rock solid body, you better make sure you’re hitting the gym and not the vending machine. If you want shampoo commercial hair, you need to make sure the hot oil treatment is on hand. The same goes for our eyes. If you want to keep those peepers clear and gorgeous, you need to keep them healthy; the only question is, how do you know whether your giving them the care they need? It might surprise you to know that there may be a few things you’re doing that are actually hurting those pretty eyes, and here are some of them. Read on to learn what not to do if you want to keep your eyes healthy for a good long time.

Sleeping in Contacts

If you heard about the woman whose eye examination revealed 27 contact lenses in her eyes, you probably know that sleeping in contacts is not such a great idea. While there are two types of contacts that the FDA has approved for overnight wear, New York optometrist, Deeba Chaudri warns that even these can be risky.  According to a study by the American Academy of Ophthamology, the risk of developing a corneal ulcer is multiplied by 10 or 15 times in extended wear contact lens users, compared to those who wear contacts only during the day.

Don’t Rub Your Eyes

Your mama always told you not to do it. The professionals concur. Says Chaudri, “Sometimes your eyes itch and you have to rub, but it’s best to keep the lid closed and only touch the outside of the eye.” Rubbing your eyes too hard can lead to inflammation and broken blood vessels, not to mention, eyes are a breeding ground of bacteria, so, “If you shake someone’s hand and then you rub your eyes, you’re transmitting those germs and there’s a good chance you can catch whatever cold he’s got.”

Habits That Help You Maintain Healthy Vision

Get Annual Eye Exams

Even if your vision is 20/20, you should still see an eye doctor once a year. Chaudri says, “It’s about getting your overall eye health checked out: There are no pain receptors behind the eye, so if you have a broken blood vessel or a tumor back there, you would otherwise not know it until it starts to interfere with your vision, or worse.”

Staring At Devices

Looking at phones and computers is a tough habit to break, but focusing on anything for too long a time can cause eye strain and headaches. Chaudri advises following the 20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes looking at the screen, take a 20 second break, look into the distance, focus your eyes on something else, and make a conscientious effort to blink, you may have been staring for a long time without realizing it.

Applying Eyeliner to the Waterline

Even though the look may pop up in a few fashion magazines, applying liner to the inside of the lower lashes can come with a risk. According to Chaudri, “When you put liner inside your eye, you’re mixing it with your tears.” If you have contacts in, your lenses can get coated with makeup particles that prevent your eyes from getting ample amounts of oxygen. If you’re not wearing contacts, those makeup particles can bring infection causing germs into your eyes. Liquid liners are the worst offenders because the applicator tube can harbor bacteria. Soft pencils are safer because they are continually being worn down to expose a new tip.

What are you doing to keep your eyes healthy and beautiful? Let us know what healthy eye tips you swear by.

Woman down with the flu

Avoiding Cooties: Cold, Flu and Retrovirus

The common cold, the flu and retroviruses make their rounds during winter time and it can seem impossible to stay healthy. Luckily, there are lifestyle changes and medical interventions that you can use to help protect yourself and your loved ones from coming down with the cold, flu and retrovirus. Use the following five tips to keep your family and yourself healthy during cold and flu season this year.

Wash Your Hands
The number one thing you can do to prevent the common cold, flu and retroviruses is to wash your hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that “handwashing is like a do-it-yourself vaccine” when it comes to preventing illnesses. Properly washing your hands consists of five steps:

  • Wet your hands
  • Lather your hands – don’t forget the backs of your hands, in between fingers and under fingernails
  • Scrub your hands – do this for at least 20 seconds for maximum cleanliness
  • Rinse
  • Dry

Get Vaccinated
When it comes to the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that getting vaccinated is the first, and most important, step in preventing the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone aged six months and older be vaccinated annually to prevent the flu virus. “Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to the flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths,” according to the CDC. Your healthcare provider can help you determine which flu vaccine is the most appropriate for you.

Stay Home
To protect yourself from illness, you want to limit your time and prevent close contact with individuals who are already sick. If you begin to exhibit any flu-like symptoms, do those you surround yourself with a favor and stay home. You need to rest to recover, and staying home reduces the risk of spreading the illness to others. If you have a fever, experts recommend that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without using fever-reducing medicines.

Woman sleeping

Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is an important part of staying healthy and not getting enough sleep can make you more vulnerable to the common cold, flu and retroviruses. For otherwise healthy adults, the National Sleep Foundation recommends getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.

Practice Good Health Habits
In addition to making sure you are well-rested, there are things you can do in your daily life to help prevent the colds, retroviruses and the flu. First, a healthy diet and exercise can go a long way in keeping you healthy, so be sure that you are following a sensible eating plan and staying active. Next, avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes as much as possible, because germs from your hands enter the body this way. Cover your mouth and nose any time you cough or sneeze to protect those around you from your illness and clean and disinfect any surfaces that are frequently touched both at home and work to protect yourself from illness.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to avoid germs altogether, but practicing healthy habits can significantly reduce your risk of coming down with the common cold, flu or retrovirus. Remember to wash hands thoroughly and frequently and avoid putting your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent illness. Keep those around you healthy by using the above tips to avoid colds, the flu and retroviruses.

Woman working out in a gym.

Change How You Think – Make Working Out a Habit

You think about heading to the gym and working out. You may even plan out your exercise routine or when you are going to hit the gym. But somehow, those plans seem to fall by the wayside when it comes time for you to actually get moving. It doesn’t help that you have friends or know gym-goers that show up without fail every single day. Even more frustrating is that these fitness junkies actually like the process of exercise and look forward to this part of their day. While you mentally curse them for their dedication, you probably also wish that you could be more disciplined and more excited about your own exercise and now you can. A recent study published in the Health Psychology journal suggests that there really is a difference between those who consistently exercise and those that struggle with merely making time to head outside or to your gym, but don’t lose hope yet. Just because there is a difference between you and faithful gym-goers doesn’t mean that you can’t become one of the latter. The study suggests that you can learn to make exercise an essential part of your day.

What Sets Regular Exercisers Apart
The answer to what makes regular exercises different is frustratingly simple and you have probably heard it before. Those that workout without fail do not dread exercise and they don’t think of exercise as a chore that has to be done. It’s that difficult and that simple. Rather than thinking about exercise as one more thing that you have to cram into the day, consistent exercisers get active almost automatically; it is just a part of their daily routine. Those that exercise regularly receive cues, either internal or external, that signal it is time to get up and move. Some may respond to external sources, like the alarm going off in the morning, while others respond to an internal cue “I’m stressed from work and home obligations, it’s time to relieve some stress at the gym.”

In the study, the researchers referred to this tendency as the “instigation habit.” The researchers set out to find out whether the instigation habit would be indicative of people being able to stick to an exercise regime, and they definitely proved their hypothesis. In fact, the instigation habit was the only predictor that people would stick with exercise and that the more time spent exercising (for example going from the first month to the third), the stronger the instigation habit became. Why? Because it seems that exercisers with a high instigation habit do not think only of the work that awaits them when it’s time to exercise. They associate exercise and gym time with specific parts of their day; they hear their alarm in the morning and know it’s time to lace up the gym shoes. It isn’t only the exercise that the consistent gym-goers think of, they think of the entire experience of exercise, including that awesome post-workout high, as a habit they have cultivated, not as a chore that they have to cross off their to-do list.

Why it Matters
It seems like a great excuse (“I don’t intrinsically have a strong instigation habit so I shouldn’t even bother”), but it’s actually the reverse. If you weren’t blessed with a high instigation habit, it takes a bit more work on your part, but you absolutely can strengthen it. Beginning an exercise routine after a long break in physical activity (or a lifetime or inactivity) is by no means an easy task, but stick with it. The longer that you make regular exercise a part of your routine, the more you condition your mind to think of exercise as an essential part of your day.

The temptation to hit the snooze button or drive past the gym after a super long day at work is definitely great, but sticking to your exercise routine in the beginning makes it easier to make working out a lifelong habit. Physical activity is incredibly important for a healthy life and right now, it may not be your favorite thing to do. But if you can shift your thinking from “I hate this chore” to “oh, my alarm is going off, time to hit the gym,” you will be able to make exercise an essential part of your day, and your body will thank you.