Cover one eye and read this. Now try the other one.
Were you struggling to see clearly out of either eye? If so, then your eyes are sending you an SOS. You’re not alone.
“I’m seeing more vision trouble with younger guys these days,” says Men’s Health advisor Dr Kimberly Cockerham, a clinical associate professor of ophthalmology at Stanford University.
Cases of myopia (nearsightedness) are spiking, and glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye conditions are also on the rise.
One major culprit is screen use (phone, tablet, TV, laptop). But stress, poor nutrition, smoking, and obesity can also sap your sight.
In fact, anything that hurts your heart will strain your eyes. See clearly now and in the future by avoiding these mistakes.
Blue light from your devices may be linked to macular degeneration, an impairment of your central vision.
Plus, not blinking fully while staring at a screen can cause “computer vision syndrome”—dryness, pain, and fatigue.
SAVE YOUR SIGHT: Keep any screen at least 40 centimetres from your face, and bump up the text size, says Dr Mark Rosenfield, of SUNY College of Optometry.
The stress hormone cortisol can lead to impaired retinal function.
This can result in a condition known as central serous chorio-retinopathy (CSCR), a buildup of liquid that causes blurry vision.
SAVE YOUR SIGHT: Exercise and meditation can slash stress. Or rock out regularly: An hour at a live music event can lower cortisol levels by 25 per cent, a U.K. study found.
The closer you hold something to your face – a phone, a book – the harder your eyes work. This strain may cause your eyeballs to elongate, possibly resulting in myopia.
SAVE YOUR SIGHT: Use the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a break and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Blunt trauma to the eye – say, from an errant ball or elbow – is the most common cause of vision loss in young men.
One nightmare is a detached retina, which can also result from any violent head movement—even an intense sneeze.
SAVE YOUR SIGHT: Wear protective glasses when you play sports. If you do take a hit and then notice spots or arcs of flashing light, head immediately to the ER.
Avoiding leafy greens means you miss out on nutrients, such as nitrates and lutein, that can help ward off glaucoma and macular degeneration.
SAVE YOUR SIGHT: Nitrates help promote blood flow to the retina.
A recent study found that people who eat 240 milligrams a day (a cup of spinach) are 30 per cent less likely to develop glaucoma than greens haters.
Look out a window if you can; broad vistas help your eyes relax.
If you’re a smoker, obese, or both, your risk of glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases skyrockets by as much as 300 percent.
SAVE YOUR SIGHT: Lose the extra weight (duh) and ditch the cancer sticks (double duh). Eating a diet that’s rich in fatty fish, fruits, and vegetables (especially those high in vitamin C and zinc) is beneficial for eye health.