The human eye is a very delicate organ and its health can be affected by a host of factors such as injury, infection, aging and various other medical problems. The good news is that most of those problems can be lessened or even avoided altogether by applying proper eye hygiene.
Eye First Aid
If a foreign body, such as an eyelash or a wood splinter, enters the eye you have to avoid rubbing your eye, even if it itches a lot. It is best if you try to induce tear production by pulling your upper eyelid outwards and flush away the foreign body. If this does not work you can try to wash the eye with plenty of water while being careful not to rub it. If the problem persists it is best to cover your eye with some gauze and seek medical attention.
If a larger foreign body gets stuck in your eye you must not try to remove it yourself or you risk damaging your eye. Instead, cover your eye with some gauze and seek professional help. In some instances such foreign bodies can only be removed by an eye specialist.
Eye Infections and preventive measures
Without proper eye hygiene the eye can become susceptible to bacterial and even viral infections. The most common result of such infections is the inflammation of the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids known as Conjunctivitis.
To avoid any eye infections hand contact with the eye itself should be avoided at all times and everything that comes in contact with the eye must be clean. Towels must be used carefully when drying around the eye area and they should never come in contact with the eye itself. Also, face towels should not be used when wet and be changed and cleaned regularly to avoid any bacterial or fungal growth on them that could cause eye infection when used.
Smoking may cause irritation to the eye and generally smoking is known to dehydrate and tire the eye so people with eye conditions should consider stopping or limiting their smoking (Or they should smoke with their eyes closed!)
Direct sun exposure can cause permanent damage to the eye, therefore eye protection such as sunglasses must be worn outside when sunny or when one stays for long periods of time in snowy places in daytime. Make sure your eyeglasses have the appropriate UV (ultra-violet) filter to protect your eyes.
People using contact lenses must wash their hands meticulously before handling and applying them to the eye. You should always use the appropriate contact lens solution to clean your contact lenses and make sure it has not expired. Finally, water should NEVER be used instead of contact lens solution to clean the contact lenses since this carries huge potential risks for the user ranging from a simple Conjunctivitis to the potentially devastating Acanthamoeba keratitis which may even lead to loss of sight.