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10 Eye health tips for studentsMedically reviewed by Tina Patel, Contact Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts.
1. Be aware of screen time
Being a uni student often means plenty of exposure to digital screens. Not only does studying often require writing essays on a laptop, but it also means plenty more downtime to text new friends, watch Netflix, play video games and keep in touch with old pals via social media.
The reality is that staring at a screen for long periods can lead to computer vision syndrome causing dry eyes, fatigue and blurry vision. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to be mindful of how much screen time you have and remember to give your eyes frequent breaks from computer screens and other digital devices.
Some would recommend wearing blue light glasses as they filter out blue light from screens and mobiles devices. They may help to reduce eye strain and headaches. Following the 20-20-20 rule when engaging in screen time will help to reduce eye strain. For every 20 minutes of looking at a digital screen, look 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds to rest the eyes.
2. Care for your contact lenses
No matter how busy you find yourself at university, make sure you take the time to clean and store your contact lenses properly in contact lens solution overnight. Failing to do this can lead to eye infections.
If you are struggling to stick to a lens care routine, consider switching to daily contact lenses for convenience. These can be thrown away at the end of each day and a new pair applied in the morning.
3. Never sleep in your contact lenses
Uni for many also means lots of late nights, partying and drinking alcohol. It may be tempting to fall asleep straight away after a night out but whatever you do, make sure you remove your contact lenses first. Sleeping in your contact lenses can lead to dry eye, corneal ulcers and eye infections such as conjunctivitis.
If you do fall asleep in your lenses, on waking, use eye drops to hydrate your eyes and lenses and wait 20 minutes before removing them. Switch to wearing glasses for the rest of the day to give your eyes a break. If you have any concerns, you should contact your optician for advice.
4. Wear the right eyewear for sports
You may find yourself joining one of the sports teams at university or simply engaging in casual team sports during your spare time. Whatever you do, protect your eyes with the right eyewear. Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection is essential when engaging in outdoor activities such as tennis. Wrap-around frames are also a great choice as their design ensures they won’t slip off when running around.
If you wear glasses with a prescription, consider sun tints or photochromic lenses to protect your eyes.
Do not use contact lenses for swimming or water sports. You should even avoid use of hot tubs and saunas while wearing your contact lenses. If any water does come into contact with your lenses, throw them away immediately.
5. Eat a balanced diet
With a whole new schedule to adapt to, you may find yourself turning to fast food and Deliveroo, especially if you've never cooked for yourself before. However, following a balanced diet and eating the right foods such as oily fish, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, and orange foods is essential to maintaining good eye health. If you're not sure what to cook or how, take a look at our easy recipes for eye health.
Making healthy food choices will keep your eyes healthy and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.
6. Get sleep
Sleep is vital for many areas of your life and your overall health. A lack of sleep can lead to poor academic performance, memory problems and low mood. Sleep also affects the eyes and not getting enough of it can also cause eye spasms and dry eyes. While you may be tempted to go out every night, make sure you don't compromise on your sleep.
7. Don't share makeup
You may find yourself sharing all sorts with your housemates at university, but one thing you should avoid sharing is makeup. Although sharing makeup sounds harmless, it can lead to viral infections such as conjunctivitis (pink eye). Stick to using your own cosmetics and pay attention to makeup expiry dates. If you do develop an eye infection, make sure you throw away your eye makeup and get advice from your optician.
8. Get regular eye tests
Getting regular eye tests is an essential part of maintaining good eye health and will ensure that your academic studies don't suffer. Whether you wear prescription lenses or not, an eye test can detect signs of more severe conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Eye care professionals recommend going for an eye check-up once every two years.
As a student, you can get a free sight test when you fill out a HC1 form. You can get this form from an opticians or pharmacy.
9. Save money
Being a student sometimes means having to stick to a budget, so it's good to save where you can. At Feel Good Contacts, we assure you of the most competitive prices, thanks to our Price Match Guarantee, helping you save on your contact lenses and eye care. We also offer a Unidays student discount of 16% off on your first order with us. For more ways to save money while at university, take a look at our top 10 money-saving tips for students.
10. Remember your eye care
Before you go away to university, stock up on all your eye care essentials. Maintain good eyelid hygiene on the go with our Optase Tea Tree Oil Lid Wipes and ensure your eyes are soothed and healthy when times get tough. Our Optase Moist Heat Eye Mask will give you that much needed pamper treatment after heavy nights out. Don't forget to pack eye drops such as our Thealoz Duo eye drops if you suffer from dry eye. For those that dislike eye drops, you can try our Optase Dry Eye Spray.