Can common bad habits like long-term computer use or junk food diet damage your eyesight?

Preface: Lately, my interest have been gearing towards health subjects other than food (I believe this is owing to my decreased food choices, with food and fruits provided to me by the college). Also, I greatly apologize for the lateness in posting. I promise to be more diligent especially during the summer holidays. I myself have dealt first hand with the pain of when one’s favorite blogger no longer regularly updates…

In this post, I shall explore eyesight and bad habits! Bad habits being poor health choices.

DCF 1.0

It is without a doubt that the typical college lifestyle have messed up my health morals. I am no longer obsessive nutrition compulsive. I have a suspicion that the poor health choices – rather than genetics – I have made has affected my eyesight. Hence, I have investigated into this matter…

My hypotheses are that:

  • Poor nutrition (short-term) can lead to poor eyesight.
  • Diet high in sugar and fat (short-term) can lead to poor eyesight.
  • High usage of computer/smartphones can lead to poor eyesight.
  • Lack of sleep can lead to poor eyesight

Nutrition and eyesight:

571524-foods-to-improve-your-eye-health

It goes without saying that ever since the time of our great grandparents there have been beliefs on the relationship of eye-health and food/nutrition. For example, have more carrots for great eyesight, etc. But how much relationship is there really between nutrition and eyesight? And what happens if we abuse our diet?

Food can equate to medicine, and therefore, whatever food we put into our body will affect it. Hence, logistically, unhealthful food will also affect the eyes, an organ in the body. We can look to type-2 diabetes, a diet-related, eye damaging disease as an example.

Diabetes/high blood sugar and eyesight:

Assorted Junk Food

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults, according to webmd.com. And how so? High blood sugar levels directly affect blood flow around the eyes. One, it can cause swelling of the eye lens which causes blurred vision. Second, it can weaken blood vessels and if left untreated can lead to permanent eye damage. Lastly, the worse of all is direct damage to the retina. When damage to the blood vessel becomes most serious, it may lead to complications that causes the retina to snap. This may cause blindness.

This goes to say that high blood sugar which is diet related can have direct damage to eyesight.

When one lives on a junk food diet, obviously other than high blood sugar, high cholesterol would follow.

High cholesterol and eyesight:

Saturated-Fat-Food

When there is abnormally high amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream, this can have adverse effects on your eyesight. Some of these conditions include: retinal vein occlusion. Cholesterol can block blood vessels in your eyes as it can in other parts of your body. Blood supply to your eyes may be cut off or blood vessels may burst. Apparently, retinal vein occlusion usually happen acutely with patients experiencing sudden blurring or partial/total loss of vision. However, in many instances, some vision can be restored with treatment.

Computers and eyesight:

cvs_blog

Another part of the equation to bad habit = poor eyesight is incorrect usage of computer/smartphones. This correlation seems obvious doesn’t it? In fact, this association has entered the spotlight more in recent years. But how exactly do computer/phone screens damage your eyes?

Some say the “computer vision syndrome (CVS)” is part of the array of “repetitive stress injuries” common at workplaces, which occurs when one repeats the same motion over and over again, causing stress in certain parts of the body.

When using computers (and even worse, smartphones as letters & images are smaller), one has to constantly strain one’s eyes. Working on computers is different from something like reading books, as the screen is constantly switching which creates screen contrast, varying light value, and also of course, the glaring screen light.

But can this actually damage one’s eyesight? Some sources say overuse of computers will not affect the eyes permanently, however, new researches say otherwise. Some symptoms of minor eye damages caused by computer/smart phone screens include: blurred, double vision, dry or red eyes, eye irritation, headaches, and neck or back pain (I have definitely experienced a couple of these). Other sources suggest that the overuse of these high technology equipments may even lead to conditions like cataract.

Sleep deprivation and the eyes: 

Sleep-derived

I myself have always often experienced dry and sore eyes when not getting enough sleep – often rubbing eyes that day. This led me to question the possible effects of sleep deprivation on the eyes.

In fact, the eyes like any other organ in the body require sleep to recharge and repair. After all, it has been opened and operated the entire day. The lesser hours it receives to rest and repair, the lesser its capability.

One of the main side effects of sleep deprivation on the eyes is myokymia or eye spasm. Got a recurring eye spasm? It’s most likely your body’s sign to sleep more. The other side effect is dry eyes which can result in itchiness, redness, and sometimes blurred vision.

It’s unclear whether lack of sleep can result in the degeneration of eyesight. However, lack of sleep or decrease time for body repair can cause all sorts of health issues and affect all kinds of organs. It’s quite possible that the eyes will also be affected.

In conclusion, 3 of the hypotheses I listed are all health damaging bad habits (the computer one is not as directly affecting). And damages to our body, would most definitely also affect the eyes (in varying degrees). The first two hypotheses (diet related) are easy to solve – you simply need to practice self-control and determination in eating healthful and whole foods. The second two are trickier. Many people, including college kids (whom I can directly relate to), find using computers or sleeping very little something unavoidable. Nevertheless, solutions are there. For example, to lessen the effects of CVS, you can designate times for break from computer use or sit further away from the screen. And for lack of sleep, it simply depends on one’s determination to be healthy, and vigorous planning to make sure that happens.

– Izzy
P.S. I apologize for the lame side images… It’s the content that’s most important!