Many young people take their eye health for granted. Millennials (individuals born between 1982 and 2004) are reaching the ages where they should start to be concerned about their eye health. This age group should be concerned about several things. Read on to learn what eye issues the millennial generation should take into consideration.
There are several ways that millennials are damaging their eyes that they may not realize.
Improper Wear and Care of Contacts
The biggest eye health issues eye care providers see with contact lenses are related to wear time. Many millennials wear their contact lenses beyond the time indicated. Patients may sleep in contacts for days or weeks on end, and most lenses are meant to be taken out every night, cleaned and disinfected. Not caring for contacts properly can lead to eye infections, corneal ulcers, and in severe cases, partial or permanent vision loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eye infections lead to one million doctor visits every year, most of which are attributed to contact lenses.
Not Wearing Proper Sunglasses
According to a survey by Transitions, half of millennials surveyed said they didn’t wear sunglasses, whereas Gen Xers (38%) and Baby Boomers (28%) were less likely to go without sunglasses. By wearing UV blocking sunglasses, millennials can prevent side effects such as:
- Eye discomfort
- Early cataracts
- Keratitis of the cornea
- Inflammation of the retina
- Skin cancer of the eyelids and surrounding area
- Macular degeneration and blindness
When purchasing sunglasses, choose a pair that has 99% or better UVA/UVB protection. If you have glasses, consider adding UV protection into your existing lenses.
Ignoring Dry Eye Symptoms
Many millennials work on computers for over 8 hours each day. On top of this, they are exposed to screen on their personal devices, such as smartphones. With all of this screen time, eye strain and dry eye symptoms are on the rise. Left untreated, vision clarity can suffer, and the potential for serious eye infections and corneal abrasions can rise. To combat this, doctors recommend taking visual breaks and focusing on a faraway object every 60 to 90 minutes while working on a computer. If you suspect you have dry eyes, schedule a visit with your doctor.
Millennials have a strong chance at developing myopia (nearsightedness), more so than any generation before them. Roughly half of young adults in the United States and Europe have it, double the percentage when their grandparents were the same age. One theory as to why this is happening is the “near work” hypothesis. This idea suggests that activities such as reading and using smartphones put strain on the eye, which in turn increases the chance of myopia. This argument was largely backed up by evidence that connected rising education levels with myopia. With myopia on the rise, many millennials will be seeking corrective lenses and surgery in the near future.
Many millennials may have preconceived notions about LASIK surgery. Some believe that because their vision isn’t “that bad”, they should wait to get it fixed until later in life. However, research has shown LASIK to be very effective for those under 25. Younger patients have the most to gain from receiving LASIK surgery. They tend to be more active, and involved in more physical activities than older patients. Getting LASIK surgery can also prevent bad contact lens habits, such as wearing them for days on end. If you are interested in learning more about LASIK surgery, visit our LASIK Resources Page.
If are experiencing any of the conditions above, or would like to schedule a routine eye exam, book your appointment with the Piedmont specialists today!