Ways you may be damaging your eyes

Nearly 60% of all eye injuries happen at home. That include cuts and infections but also things like eye strain and irritation.

ORLANDO, Fla. – About 60% of all eye injuries -- such as cuts, infections, and strain -- occur in and around the home. Many of them are preventable. What can you can to avoid something that may cause you to lose your vision.

Red, itchy, dry eyes seem to be soothed by over-the-counter eye drops, but doctors say long-term overuse can do more harm than good! Preservatives in eye drops give them a longer shelf life, but the chemicals can irritate the eyes.

If you’re using the eye drops more than four times a day, consider switching to a preservative-free brand such as Systane, Refresh, and Soothe. And don’t forget about the skin around your eye.

“Unfortunately, the skin around your eye is some of the most vulnerable to the sun both in terms of just sun damage but also in terms of developing cancers,” explained George A. Cioffi, an ophthalmologist at Columbia University.

Thirty-four percent of adults have experienced symptoms of prolonged UV exposure such as eye irritation, trouble seeing, and red or swollen eyes. UV damage from the sun to your eyes can occur in as little as 15 minutes. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with UV protection level of 95 to 100%.

Also, remember that not taking care of underlying medical conditions can lead to vision loss.

“Hypertension, diabetes, all these systemic risk factors, they kind of add on to what damage can happen because of the raised interocular pressure,” shared Meghal Gagrani, a glaucoma fellow with the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

About one in three adults over the age of 40 have some sign of diabetic retinopathy, but early intervention can reduce risk of blindness by 95%.

Another thing to watch out for is alcohol. Too much alcohol has been linked to increased cataract formation and an increased risk for age-related macular degeneration.