Protect your eyes from smoke, sleep and dehydration | The Eye ProfessionalsSmoking has long been known to be a health hazard. The U.S. Surgeon General’s first Smoking and Health report came out in 1964 and concluded that smoking was a cause of lung and laryngeal cancer. Since that report more studies have shown additional health dangers of smoking, such as heart disease and emphysema, but smoking also adversely affects the health of your eyes.

Studies have shown that heavy smokers are up to three times more likely to develop cataracts as nonsmokers, and there is a strong link between smoking and high blood pressure, diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of developing these eye diseases.

Lack of Sleep

Lack of adequate sleep can affect your eyes. Your eyes need tear film for eye health and optimum function. Insomnia can prevent your eyes from getting the proper moisture renewal they need. Another consequence of not enough sleep can be eye spasms or twitching. 

Adequate sleep rests your eye muscles and helps prevent eye spasms. Other causes of eye spasms are stress, too much caffeine, smoking and certain medications. Most eye spasms go away in a few days with some rest, but if they persist, see your eye doctor.

Hydration is Important

Dehydration is when more water leaves your body than enters it. A common cause of dehydration is when you exercise, play sports, or are outside in hot weather for prolonged periods. These situations can cause excessive sweating that leads to dehydration. Your body responds to dehydration by conserving water and this leads to symptoms such as thirst, dry mouth, decreased urine output, muscle cramps, headache, and lack of tear production.

When your tear production decreases your eyes are more susceptible to eye strain. Your eyes need adequate tear production to nourish the surface of your eyes and provide clear vision. Eye drops can help alleviate dry eyes but hydrating by drinking plenty of water is also a good treatment for dry eyes.