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It may be surprising to learn that an estimated 7 million plus adults in America are considered legally blind, as well as almost a million children. This month is Eye Injury Prevention Month and we have teamed up with the Sankara Eye Foundation to highlight some daily habits to avoid for better eye health.


For 20 years, the Sankara Eye Foundation has worked to eliminate curable blindness in India, which has the largest population of blind people globally. They reach out to poor areas offering quality eye care for free. Their work is incredibly valuable to the over 55 million visually impaired people there.


Your blind car donation can help the Sankara Eye Foundation give sight to a child or adult in need, who otherwise would remain visually impaired or completely blind.


Our eye sight is likely the most treasured sense we have. Yet, several daily things we do can pose a threat to the health of our vision.


Protect you and your family’s eye sight by avoiding these bad habits:


1. Looking at computer screen too long

It may seem impossible to not look at computer screens as they are everywhere and we use them for work, school and entertainment. However, long hours staring at a the monitor can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome. Symptoms include blurred vision, headaches and eye strain.


To avoid this, take more breaks when working in front of the computer screen. Also keep your eyes moisturized with doctor approved eye drops and by blinking more often.


2.  Looking at your cell phone too long

Similar to a computer screen, staring at your cell phone for extended amounts of time can cause eye strain, blurred vision and dry eyes.


To avoid this, try keeping your screen light on a dimmer setting, enlarge the size of the font and keep your eyes moisturized by blinking often.


3. Using eye makeup that’s not fresh

When you use eye makeup, the natural bacteria from your eyes can easily be transferred to the makeup and continue to manifest in them. The most common makeup associated with eye infections is mascara due to the wand coming in contact with potential bacteria.


To avoid this, store mascara and other makeup in a cool dry place. Do not apply more than two coats. Be careful to not apply mascara in a moving vehicle and risk scratching your eye cornea.  


4. Being in direct sunlight too long

The sun can be the most damaging to the skin and the eyes. When you get a sunburn, it’s likely that your eyes were affected as well. Ultra violet rays penetrate the cornea of your eye and lead to several damaging diseases like cataracts, eyelid cancer, corneal burns, and conjunctival cancer.


To avoid this, always wear UV protection sunglasses when out in the sun and a hat. Also, consider limiting the amount of time you spend in the sun.


5. Wearing contacts to bed

Improper contact lens care can lead to eye infections. This can happen when you wear your contacts for extended periods of time or when poor hygiene is used in caring for them. When contacts are poorly handled, infections like fungal, bacterial or herpes keratitis can develop, which could potentially lead to blindness.


To avoid this, always use proper lens care when handling your contacts. Wash your hands before touching them and leave them in an appropriate solution when you are not using them. And don’t wear them while sleeping at night.


6. Smoking

We are all aware that smoking can lead to lung cancer and other diseases. But you may not be aware that smoking can also eventually cause vision loss and blindness. If you are a smoker and continue to smoke, you are at risk of developing dry-eye syndrome, cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration which can cause you to become blind.


To avoid this, stop smoking. Seek out help from your doctor and/or support groups to help you quit and to handle your cravings. You will be so glad you did.


7. Using the wrong eye drops

Not all eye drops are the same. A doctor may prescribe steroid eye drops to treat an infection. After the infection is cleared, some people might hang onto the bottle to use later. Sometimes overusing these types of drops can lead to risks of infection, cataracts or glaucoma. Other over-the-counter eye drops might contain ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction or chronic eye redness.


To void this, visit with your eye doctor to discuss what type of drops would be best to use for your condition. Do not use eye drops that you are unsure about or that are very old.


8. Missing yearly eye exams

It might be tempting to skip an eye exam when there seems to be no change with your vision and you are already very busy. Yet there are always things that may have changed with your eye health that you might not be aware of. Eye doctors use specialized equipment to analyze more than just reading a row of letters. Early detection can prevent you from a serious eye disease that can lead to blindness.


To avoid this, make your yearly eye exam a priority. If it’s already been a few years, call and scheduled an appointment soon. Discuss any issues or potential problems with your doctor and follow through with prescribed eye care.


Now that you are aware of these bad habits, you can make changes right away to protect your valuable sense of vision.


You can also act to help those already suffering from vision loss when you donate a car for the blind through Donate-a-Car. Your vehicle donation can help the Sankara Eye Foundation give sight and support directly to those in need.