As universities move courses online, many students are adjusting to the realities of working in front of a screen. While online learning is an excellent way to maintain your studies, eye strain can be a frustrating side effect. Dr. Sue Abhary recommends spending some time to ensure that your work from home set-up is optimal.
We’ve listed six simple ways to look after your eyes while studying.
Too much reading or focusing on a close screen can impact your vision. If you notice this change, make sure you see your optometrist. This can help to identify issues early and determine whether you will benefit from a prescription for glasses to wear in front of a screen.
Exercise and eat well
A healthy lifestyle can help to keep your eyes healthy. Foods like leafy green vegetables (containing antioxidants), fish (containing mega 3 fatty acids) and vitamins C and E and minerals like zinc and selenium may help prevent macular degeneration. Regular exercising and a healthy diet can also help to prevent diabetes; a condition that can damage your eyes.
Protect your eyes
It’s important to protect your eyes from Ultraviolet light by wearing UV sunglasses when outside and a hat, as UV can lead to cataracts and has been associated with age-related macular degeneration.
Set up your study space
When spending long periods of time in front of a screen it’s good to invest time to set up your study space comfortably.
- Position your screen one arm’s length away from you
- Reduce glare if you notice it, for example you can do this by keeping your screen away from windows or adjusting the lighting if it is causing a reflection
To avoid your eyes from becoming strained, every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet (6 meters) away for 20 seconds and continue this throughout the day when you are behind a screen.
Rest your eyes
Studies show we blink 66% less when in front of a monitor. Uninterrupted staring can cause dryness and irritation to the eyes. Perhaps set a reminder on your computer so that you take regular eye breaks from devices. If you notice dryness and irritation, lubricating eye drops from your chemist may also help alleviate discomfort. Talk to your pharmacist about over the counter lubricating eye drops that may help relieve dry eyes.