Eyecare at University

At university, looking after your eyes is very important. You spend so much of the day looking at screens and reading so although it is often forgotten, it is important to keep a check on your eyes. Some studies suggest that over 50% of students become near-sighted over the time they are in education, so this is a common issue.

The first eye problem that can be common amongst university students is dry eyes. This is because we don’t blink as much when we concentrate, meaning there is less moisture produced in the eyes. At university, this can often become an issue when you are concentrating on what the lecturer is saying or what you can see on the board. The main symptoms of dry eyes are redness in the eyes, soreness, and blurred vision. To help with the symptoms of dry eyes, the first thing you can do is keep hydrated. However, if this alone isn’t helping to relieve symptoms, you can buy some over the counter products from your local pharmacy, such as eye ointments or eye drops.

Additionally, digital eye stain is a common issue at university. This is caused by looking at devices, which most students do lots whether its spending time on their phone or spending long days on campus looking at a laptop screen. Looking at devices can cause eye strain for various reasons. For example, letters on devices aren’t as sharply defined as letters on paper. The contrast between the letters and the background is also usually reduced on devices, and glare on the device screen can make viewing more difficult. The main symptoms of digital eye strain are headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck pain, and shoulder pain. To relieve these symptoms blink frequently, take regular rest breaks, sit in a comfortable position when viewing the device, and try to minimise glare either through positioning the screen away from light or using an anti-glare screen.

Here is some general advice when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy while at university. Firstly, take regular breaks from studying to take some time away from looking at screens and books. To do this, try to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet into the distance for 20 seconds, as this will allow your eyes to rest. Also, try to get outside when you can to let your eyes adjust from looking at books and screens. Therefore, why not take some time away from the library every now and again to have a nice, scenic walk around the lake? You can also eat some healthy foods to help your eyes: oily fish, carrots, broccoli, and almonds are some good options.

If you are a contact lens wearer, here’s some additional advice to look after your eyes. If you’re planning on having a swim in the STV’s 50m pool, ensure you take out your contact lenses beforehand. You should never swim or shower in contact lenses as there is a bacterium in water that can cause a serious infection if you do so. Additionally, always store your contact lenses correctly and wash your hands when inserting or removing them to avoid contamination. Never share contact lenses or storage containers, and never sleep in lenses unless specified by an eye specialist as this can cause eye infections.
As a final note, if you notice a change in your eyesight or are having problems, go to the opticians for advice. Wishing you good health!

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