Not wearing sunglasses
Ultraviolet light from the sun breaks down the collagen fibers on the thin skin of the eyelids, making the eyes look older. UV light can also contribute to cataract development, macular degeneration, skin cancers and growths on the eye’s surface that can be difficult to remove surgically.
Not hydrating well enough
Dry eyes, extremely common in Southern Alberta, can lead to red, bloodshot eyes as well as discomfort. Our bodily cells are made up of 55-60% water. Failure to drink enough water over the course of the day leads to dehydration of bodily cells, and this causes your eyes to under-produce tears. Dryness, puffy and red eyelids are the result.
Not sleeping enough
Poor sleep habits can accelerate the aging process. It’s been shown that lack of sleep can make it harder for the body to repair skin damage.1 This may be more obvious around the eyes where the skin is thinner. Dark circles and bloodshot eyes from a poor night’s sleep don’t help either!
Rubbing your eyes
Connective tissue around the eyelids is damaged by mechanical pressure such as rubbing and stretching. The muscles in the eyelids themselves may be affected in a similar manner, causing a drooping of the eyelid and possibly other symptoms such as watering of the eyes.
It’s no secret that smoking is harmful to your body. In fact, smoking can lead to a four to sixfold increase in your risk for blindness from an age-related eye disease called macular degeneration.
We know that nutrients such as those found in leafy dark greens, berries and cold water fish actually have preventative benefits for diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration. 2 servings of salmon per week plus some level of fruit and vegetable with every meal go a long way towards reducing your risk for these common ailments.
Failing to get regular eye exams
An annual eye exam is the best way to ensure that your eyes are well corrected for your daily vision requirements. Excessive eye strain while doing tasks such as computer work and reading can cause squinting which can wrinkle the skin around the eyelids. Glasses, if required, can also provide a moisture barrier to prevent evaporation from the surface of the eyes and increase comfort during tasks such as computer work (our blink rate drops by as much as 50% while using computers which increases dry eye symptoms). Finally, many age-related eye diseases and disorders have no symptoms in their early stages. Detecting them early means that treatment can be initiated and vision loss prevented.
Dr. Tom Wilk