Going blind is one of the worst nightmares you could haveYour mum probably told you that sitting too close to the TV would wreck your eyes but turns out, that there are plenty of other things that can harm your vision and potentially lead to blindness. And while some causes of vision loss are not preventable, you are probably guilty of at least a few of them. Here's why your eyesight may be at risk.

1. Smoking

Smoking can harm your vision beyond repair. The chemicals in cigarette smoke cause the blood vessels to constrict. This limits the blood flow and amount of oxygen to the eyes. Over time, cigarette smoke can damage ocular cells and prolonged exposure leaves little chance for the cells to heal. According to the CDC, smokers are two times more likely to get macular degeneration which eventually leads to blindness. Smoking also makes you more likely to get cataracts.

2. Early Menopause

Early menopause not only changes the way your body behaves but it also leads to vision problems. The hormonal shifts associated with early menopause can trigger vision changes. Women undergoing menopause are predisposed to getting glaucoma, an eye disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve and lead to blindness. But early menopause increases the risk of developing glaucoma over two times. So if you have hit menopause before 45, you must go for regular eye check-ups.

3. The Sun

Taking in a beautiful sunset is relaxing, but don’t spend too much time watching the sunset as the rays can cause blindness. Overexposure to these rays can burn the eyes' corneas and cause painful, temporary blindness. And while some people might get lucky and have their retinal scarring heal on its own, that’s certainly not the case for everyone. You do not really need to freak out yet as the damage is related to the time of exposure. Wearing protective glasses can help. Blue light emitted from smartphones could also be causing blindness. 

4. Medications

The rich blood supply makes your eyes extra vulnerable to negative side effects from medications. There are some medications that cause deposits on the retina that can, over a long period of time, impair the vision. In some drugs, those side effects can be blindness. If you are older or using a medication at a high dose for a longer period of time, be aware that your risk will be higher. Ask your doctor to suggest alternative medications if your eyes are at a risk. Did you know viagra or sildenafil can potentially cause blindness?

5. Contact Lenses

Contact lenses need a lot of care in handling and require discipline. With contact lenses, a little mistake can mean an excruciating eye infection that can cause permanent blindness. You may have made the mistake of sleeping in your contacts a handful of times, don’t make it a habit. Sleeping in contacts can cause oxygen deprivation to the eyes, which may block the cornea from working properly and potentially causing blindness. Here are 8 hygiene tips to keep your contacts clean. 

You must be rushing to the doctor for the lightest of headaches but how many times do you actually go for an eye check-up? Regular eye check-ups will help you diagnose any condition well in time and prevent any further damage.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 27, 2019 12:01 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).