Your vision is precious and so easy to lose. Dangers lurk everywhere, and a moment of carelessness can result in a lifetime of blindness. We’ve listed five common causes of damage to your eyes, and how you can avoid them and care properly for your eye health.

1. UV Rays

Whether it is from the sun or from a tanning bed, Ultraviolet (UV) rays are incredibly destructive to your eye health. You can sunburn the surface of your eyes, a painful condition called Photokeratitis. Overexposure to UV rays causes cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer of the eye.

2. Failing to Wear Sunglasses All Year

While you may not think you need sunglasses in winter, the truth is that UV is just as much of a hazard in the winter months. For those involved in snow sports, winter can be even more dangerous since the snow reflects UV rays back into your eyes. The best sunglasses to wear are polarized lenses with UV blocking certification, worn every day.

3. Work Accidents

It takes mere seconds to put on your safety glasses while working on a vehicle or using power equipment, but many people skip this step to the serious detriment of their eye health. A flying piece of debris, dripping chemicals or rust that falls from your car can cause blindness and eye injury in a split second. Always wear your safety glasses when involved in these types of tasks.

4. Sports Injuries

As with working hard, playing hard often results in eye damage. Whether you are involved in contact sports or seemingly harmless activities, wearing sports goggles is always a good idea. This can save you from a poke to the eye, a broken orbital bone, scratches to the eye or worse.

5. Complications from Diabetes

Possibly the most devastating disease to your eye health, Diabetes can cause retinopathy, which slowly erodes your sight. It is silent and painless; many patients do not realize they have a problem until they have lost much of their sight. To prevent retinopathy’s advancement, control your blood sugar and see your optometrist regularly. The doctor can detect these issues at their early stages before you even notice a change.

Your eye health is vulnerable and should be protected at all costs. Talk to your eye doctor about your lifestyle and how you can best care for your vision at any age throughout your lifetime.