It’s almost the home stretch for all you college and university students out there! Fall is slipping quickly by and you’re probably looking forward to winter vacation, which is starting to appear on the horizon. It’s a well-earned break, but first you have to survive finals. You may have prepared yourself for all-nighters and picked out your favorite spots to grab naps between classes, but there’s something you might not have thought of. Our eyes are often overlooked whenever we have something to do, probably since they’re so efficient and we don’t see them actively working. Even so, they are vital to our daily lives. Here are a few quick and convenient eye health tips that you can do to prevent eye fatigue. They don’t take much time or effort and really do a lot to improve your vision and keep your eyes healthy so you can get through finals week more easily.
1. Prevent eye fatigue: When using a computer, or even when you’re reading, remind yourself to blink more often. This sounds like common sense, but sometimes people who are concentrating on a computer monitor or book forget to blink. This causes the eye to feel dry, fatigued, or itchy. Human eyes were not designed to focus on an object for a long period of time, so make sure you look away from the screen or page every so often. An easy way to remember this would be to think of the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of work or reading, look away for 20 seconds while focusing on something 20 feet away. This is a good break for your eyes, and you’ll even feel less tired in the long run.
2. Prevent dry eyes: As mentioned above, blinking is important when preventing eye fatigue and keeping your eyes from drying out. Sometimes, especially during long periods of studying, blinking is not enough. In this case, you may need eye drops to help relieve tired eyes and keep them well lubricated. This should help relieve some of the inflammation and itchiness caused by dry eyes. If you don’t have eye drops with you, consider closing your eyes and applying a warm, damp washcloth to them.
3. Contact lenses and sleep deprivation: It’s important to remember that contacts were developed to be worn for eight, maybe even up to 12 hours each day. As everyone knows, activities often take longer than that and towards the end of the day your eyes can start to feel strained. Traditional hydrogen contact lenses are not very permeable to oxygen, which the eye needs to keep healthy. Lack of oxygen can result in inflammation or blurry vision. Wearing contact lenses for 18-20 hours is almost like sleeping in them (which is not recommended). To prevent oxygen deprivation, try alternative lenses like silicone hydrogels which allow the eyes more access to oxygen. Another strategy would be to alternate between contact lenses and eyeglasses, saving the latter for late nights when you’re more likely to fall asleep. Even better, ask Dr. Feinerman if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery, which can eliminate the need for inconvenient glasses and contacts.