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How to eliminate bad habits that destroy your eyes

Did you know that vision problems affect more than 2 billion people each year across the world? While environmental and biological factors do have a part to play, we can’t ignore the role of poor lifestyle choices in contributing to vision problems. From being glued to your screens to not wearing (high quality) sunglasses, this Pacific Prime Singapore article tells you how to eliminate those nasty bad habits and protect your eyes – one of your most important senses and your window to the world. 

Individual health insurance blog

1. Limit your screen time to avoid digital eye strain 

Singaporean adults spend an average of 3.7 hours online every day – a figure that excludes their screen time at work. Improper viewing distances, poor lighting, and screen glare all contribute to digital eye strain, causing a range of symptoms like blurred vision, headaches, dry eyes, eye irritation, and neck and shoulder pain, as well as difficulty falling asleep. So it’s no wonder that one of the best ways to protect your eyes is to avoid screen time. 

While you probably can’t avoid screens entirely (the modern world revolves around them!), you can take actionable steps to limit your screen time. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through your phone when you’re feeling bored or before you go to bed, why not replace this with a healthier activity like reading, doing crosswords/sudoku puzzles, journaling, or meditation? 

Invest in blue light glasses 

Another sure-fire way to protect your eyes is to invest in blue light glasses to provide relief from some of the uncomfortable side effects of staring at a screen. Blue light glasses have special lenses that can block or at the very least filter out certain light waves from devices and protect the retina from damage. That being said, there’s some mixed opinion regarding the effectiveness of blue light glasses.

2. Swap rubbing your eyes with using water or a saline rinse 

Rubbing your eyes is something you do instinctively, but it can result in far-fetching damage like scratched corneas and eye disease. It’s indeed a bad habit that can also worsen existing eye problems, increase the risk of eye infections, and even cause blindness through a condition known as keratoconus. This is because touching your eyes brings them in contact with thousands of germs and bacteria. 

You might think that washing or sanitizing your hands throughout the day might help. Although this isn’t strictly untrue, the truth is that you can’t be entirely sure that your hands are free of germs and bacteria at any given point. So much so that it’s best to avoid rubbing your eyes entirely, and consider rinsing them with water or saline every time you have the urge to rub them. 

3. Use your contact lenses correctly and adhere to proper hygiene 

There’s a reason why your contact lenses come with instructions. As a contact lens wearer, it’s important to follow them down to the tee – or you’ll put your eyes and vision at serious risk by failing to maintain proper hygiene. If you fail to follow these recommended guidelines for use and wear, you may experience symptoms like irritated eyes, blurred vision, or, in more serious cases, keratitis. 

Here are some important contact lens care rules:

  • Use your contact lenses sparingly, and switch to eyeglasses whenever possible. 
  • Remove your contact lenses before sleeping and when you’re in the shower or pool. 
  • Clean and store contact lenses appropriately.
  • And more. 

4. Wearing high-quality, UV protection sunglasses 

It’s always fun to head outdoors and baski in the sunshine! But don’t forget to bring your shades with you to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays. While any sunglasses are better than nothing, it’s always better to steer away from cheap ones and invest in high-quality sunglasses that afford superior UV protection. And yes, this includes those who only occasionally go out in the sun. 

It’s a misconception that you only need to do so if you’re spending long periods of time outdoors. In actuality, short-term exposure can be just as harmful. Be mindful of photokeratitis (or “snow blindness”), which is a temporary yet painful loss of vision that comes with overexposure to UV rays. Over time, UV ray damage can also result in common eye disorders and diseases such as cataracts, pterygium, and eyelid cancers. 

5. Quit smoking (not only for your eyes, but also for your overall health)

It’s a well-known fact that smoking leads to a number of health problems like lung disease, cancers, and more. But did you know that smoking can also damage the eyes and result in problems like cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, dry eyes, and more? As the most common eye problems caused by smoking, cataracts and macular degeneration can both lead to vision loss.

If you want to protect both your eyes and overall health, you should consider giving up smoking immediately. You can start by visiting your general practitioner (GP) to see what resources are available or check with your employer if they offer smoking cessation programs. For those of you who think vaping might be an option, you should know this isn’t the case as vaping may also damage your vision

Secure vision coverage (and get regular checkups) via Pacific Prime Singapore today!

Even if you eliminate all of the aforementioned bad habits, you may still develop eye problems due to age or environmental/ biological factors. As such, it’s highly recommended that you visit your eye doctor regularly and get periodical check-ups to detect any issues or problem areas before they become severe. You might also find out about other health concerns that can impact your eyes such as diabetes and hypertension. 

To make sure you get the best health care (and vision care), without having to pay for it out of pocket, it’s a good idea to secure a comprehensive health insurance plan with vision coverage. That’s where Pacific Prime Singapore comes in. We work with a number of insurers in the Lion City and globally to bring you the best health insurance plans for your needs and budget. Contact us to kick start your insurance journey today!

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Singapore
Suphanida is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, an award-winning global health insurance and employee benefits specialist.

With over 5 years of experience in the field, Suphanida spends the majority of her day synthesizing complex pieces of insurance-related information and translating this into easy-to-understand, engaging, and effective content across a variety of media such as articles, infographics, whitepapers, videos, and more.

Suphanida is also responsible for planning and publishing three whitepapers released annually by Pacific Prime: The State of Health Insurance Report, The Cost of Health Insurance Report, and The Global Employee Benefits Trends Report. Additionally, she handles the LinkedIn profiles of Pacific Prime’s Founder and CEO, as well as Global HR Lead.

Suphanida’s strengths lie in her strong research and analytical skills, which she has gained from her BA in Politics from the University of Warwick and Erasmus Mundus Joint MA in Journalism from Aarhus University and City, University of London.

Being of Thai-Indian origin and having lived, studied, and worked in Thailand, the UK, and Denmark, Suphanida also has a unique, multicultural perspective that helps her understand the struggles of expats and globetrotters.

Outside of work, she enjoys traveling to new places and immersing herself in different cultures.
Suphanida Thakral