The university guide to looking after your eye health

University is a great experience and having good vision is important when studying but looking after your eyes may not be high on your agenda. Here are some helpful tips to keep your eyes in good condition throughout the academic year and beyond.

1. Have A Break

While studying you might not want to or feel like you can take many breaks, but it is very important for your eyes that you take time out of being in front of screens or books. When we concentrate, especially when using visual displays units such as PCs or tablets, we tend not to blink as much, and this can cause dry eyes. Symptoms of dry eyes can include redness, soreness, watery eyes, grittiness, and blurred vision. Overuse of VDUs can also cause digital eye strain, with symptoms such as headaches, red eyes, and blurred vision. While taking regular breaks is important, even trying to follow the 20-20-20 rule will help; every 20 minutes, look 20 feet in the distance, for 20 seconds.

2. Get Outside

Many students spend a lot of time indoors when at university and some studies suggest that over 50% of students become more near-sighted over the years they are in education. Getting outside is a good way of letting your eyes relax and have time to adjust from looking at screens and books. Always remember when going outside in the sun to wear 100% UVA and UVB protected sunglasses.

3. Contact Lens Care

If you are a contact lens wearer, then make sure you follow the correct care to avoid getting unnecessary eye infections. Never swim or shower in contact lenses, there is a bacterium that lives in water that can cause a serious but rare infection. Make sure you always wash your hands when inserting or removing contact lenses and always store you contact lenses correctly. Unless specified by your eye specialist never sleep in your lenses as this can cause unpleasant eye infections. These are only a few tips for contact lens wearers and you should always follow the advice of your contact lens or eye specialist.

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4. Sports

Taking part in sports is an important part of university for some students and making sure your eyes are protected can save some nasty injuries. Ophthalmologists advise eye protection should be worn when playing most ball sports. The bigger the ball the less likely for an eye injury to occur, for example footballs are less likely to injure your eyes than a golf ball. Good sporting shops should sell plastic shields or masks to protect your eyes when playing sports.

5. Eat Well & Keep Hydrated

University life isn’t known for being the healthiest but try to eat some healthy foods that look after your eyes, such as oily fish, carrots, sweet potatoes, berries, broccoli, almonds, and avocados, just to name a few. Drinking plenty of water and keeping hydrated is also vital for good general eye health and it will help if you suffer from dry eye symptoms too.

6. Don’t Share

Eye infections can often be avoided by following some simple rules, one of those is to not share make up. Bacteria from one person’s eyes can be easily transfers to eye make-up, such as mascara, this can then grow and then be transferred to another person. The same also goes with contact lenses, never share contact lenses or accessories, such as storage containers, as this is a sure-fire way of getting an eye infection.

About the expert

Mr Samer Hamada | Consultant Ophthalmologist and Corneal Surgeon

MD, MSc, DO (hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth I am Samer Hamada, founder and consultant ophthalmic surgeon with over 20 years’ experience in ophthalmology. I am a world-renowned specialist in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery. I’m not only a leading surgeon but also the only dual fellowship trained in corneal diseases in children from reputable institutions in the UK. At Eye Clinic London I work closely with other consultant ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. Our main aim is to make sure our patients get the safest and best treatments available to them. We put your safety before anything else so you can rest assured that if you choose us you will be in the best and safest hands.

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