It’s almost back to school time for college students and whether this is your first time away from home or you are already a pro, you want to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible to live safely on your own. This knowledge includes eye and vision safety, as failing to take care of your eyes today could cause damage to your eyes and vision now and in the future.
So put down your textbooks for a second and learn these four simple lessons about protecting your precious eyes.
Blue Light Protection
College students spend a lot of time in front of screens. From each class, homework assignment, and research project, to texting, dating apps and watching Netflix and gaming – life is largely digital.
This comes with a slew of potential side effects known as computer vision syndrome, including sore and tired eyes, headaches, neck, shoulder and back pain, dry eyes and blurred vision, largely due to the effect of the blue light emitted from the screens. The additional computer usage also increases dry eye symptoms. Studies show that blue light can also impact your sleep quality and may possibly be connected to the development of retinal damage and macular degeneration later in life.
You must always protect your eyes and vision from blue light and computer vision syndrome, and here’s how you do it:
- Use computer glasses or blue-light blocking coated lenses or contact lenses when working on a screen for long periods of time. These lenses are made to allow optimal visual comfort for the distance and unique pixelation of working on a computer or mobile screen, by reducing glare and eye strain. They also block potentially harmful blue-light radiation from entering your eyes.
- Prescription glasses may be considered as well. Many students who never needed glasses previously experience eyestrain with extensive hours studying in university. A minor prescription can make a big difference in reducing eye fatigue and helping to improve concentration. See our clinic Pink Sidhu and Associates for your eyecare needs.
- Although there is no clinical support for the 20-20-20 rule, Implementing the 20-20-20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds allows your eyes to have a healthy medium between work and rest for your eyes from the intensity of the computer screen.
- Depending on your environment, eye drops, and other dry eye services and products can be prescribed from the eye doctor to assist with dry eye syndrome that often accompanies increased screen time. Did you know that your blink rate often goes down substantially when you are concentrating on reading or computer work, thus exasperating dry eye symptoms? Have you tried eyedrops that just never seem to work? Come see Dr. Pink Sidhu and associates to discuss a personalized dry eye treatment plan for you. Did you know that 80% of dry eye sufferers have some form or meibomian gland dysfunction?
Our clinic offers treatment and management to tackle your dry eye symptoms stemming from this dysfunction. This may include meibomian gland expression. You may read more about our dry eye services in our dry eye clinic tab.
We have discussed vision correction, computer strain, dry eye, and blue block lenses. Let’s now talk about proper contact lens use.
Many college students opt for contact lenses as they are convenient and great for cosmesis and another means of vision correction, but they come along with responsibility.
The busy days and late nights can sometimes make contact lens care difficult. You must follow your eye doctor’s instructions for proper care.
Speak to Dr. Pink and Associates about your contact lens interest today. Always follow the wearing schedule and never sleep in lenses that are not designed for extended wear.
Clean and disinfect as needed, and don’t rinse them with anything other than contact lens solution. No, saliva is not safe for your contact lens, yet many students will admit they do it.
Failing to follow the proper use and hygiene for contact lenses can result in irritation, infections and even corneal scarring which can result in vision reduction and/ or vision loss.
One-day disposable lenses can be a great option especially for college students as they offer ultimate convenience (no cleaning and storing) and optimal eye health.
Further, if you enjoy wearing contact lenses, then remember to get a proper fit from your eye doctor. Many “exclusive” contact lenses available online may actually be poorly fit and made from inferior materials. Contrary to popular belief, one size does not fit all.
Lastly, let’s talk about sun protection and UV Protection.
Ultraviolet rays from the sun are known to cause long term eye damage and lead to vision-threatening eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Additionally, in extreme cases of unprotected UV exposure, you can get sunburned eyes, known as photokeratitis, which can cause a gritty, dry feeling, burning, swelling, light sensitivity, vision changes, and sometimes serious pain. These symptoms typically go away within a day or two.
Wearing 100% UV reflective sunglasses whenever you are outside – rain or shine – is the first step to eye protection. A large brimmed hat to protect the eyes from exposure from the top and sides is also a recommended addition for sunny days. It’s especially important for the light colored eyes.
Get a regular eye exam
To start off college with the right foot forward, it’s recommended to get a comprehensive eye exam prior to the start of the school year, especially if you haven’t had one recently. This way you can ensure that your eyes and vision are in top shape and, if you wear glasses, that your prescription is still accurate.
The last thing you want to worry about when getting adjusted to college is problems with your eyes and vision. It’s also recommended for students that are going away to another city to get a recommendation for a local eye doctor in case of an emergency. Most eye doctors know of colleagues located in other cities who they could recommend.
Just remember to think about your eyes because the better you take care of them now, the healthier eyes and vision you will have down the road. It’s one pair of eyes that will last you a lifetime.
Most college students have vision insurance. Most of our patients are Humber college students because of how close your campus is to the office. Check with your insurance or have our office at Dr. Pink Sidhu and associates check it out for you. We have student specials to make for an affordable and educational visit.