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It is the beginning of a new semester, and college is in full swing. Schedules are packed with classes, studying and socializing, so it is no wonder that eye care is in the back of everyone’s mind. Although your days may be busy, it is still important to take the time to look after and care for your eyes. The following eye care tips for students are easy to follow and will keep your eye health in check for another great semester.

Eat right to protect your sight

Having a well-balanced diet benefits your body in more ways than one. Beyond physically and mentally keeping you energized, eating right can also have an affect on your eyes. Fueling your body with different types of fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens, can positively impact your eyesight. Fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut have been shown to help your eyes as well. In college, it can be hard to maintain a balanced diet, but by making an effort, it will have a lasting positive impact on your entire body, including your eyes.

Spend some time outdoors

We are surrounded by screens constantly, and especially in college, it can become routine to stare at a screen for long hours everyday. Between homework, class and spending time with your friends, you are looking at a screen the majority of your day. This can seriously fatigue your eyes and cause long term damage. Spending some time outdoors allows you to give your eyes a break. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows your eyes to recharge and relax. Digital eye strain is real and can make you uncomfortable. The reason for straining and blurred vision is that people tend to blink much less when using digital screen devices. Remember to give your eyes frequent breaks from computers, phones and tablets.

Sharing is not always caring

Living with a roommate makes it easy to share your clothes, shoes and even makeup. What a lot of people do not know is that sharing things such as makeup, contact lens cases, and contact lens solution is one of the leading causes for bacterial infections, like pink eye. Makeup is the ideal breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. The very nature of makeup (particularly liquid formulations) and the dark containers in which they are typically packaged are the perfect habitat for unwanted germs. Makeup brushes, even when properly cleaned between applications, have a high degree of transferring bacteria each time they pass over cracks in the skin or popped pimples. So, the next time you are debating using your roommate’s mascara, don’t. Instead be sure to have all of your own makeup and eye care products for personal use only.

Remove eye contacts before showering and swimming

When you are on a tight schedule and constantly running around trying to make it to class or events on time it can become hard to take out your contacts before showering or swimming. Acanthamoeba keratitis is a serious eye infection caused by a parasite that lives in water. According to Berkeley Eye Center, approximately 85 percent of cases occur in contact lens wearers, and the highest risk comes from water exposure in the shower, a hot tub, or swimming in lakes and pools. It takes just a few moments to remove your contacts before a quick shower, and the benefit from doing so is very important for your health.

Schedule check-ups

With a busy schedule, it is easy to forget to pencil in a regular eye exam. However, these exams can diagnose issues early, and ensure everything is okay with your vision and eye health. If you have an increased risk of glaucoma, ask your doctor how often you should have regular eye exams to check for this potentially blinding eye disease. In some cases, eye exams also can be life-saving. Some health conditions can be visible in the eyes such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sexually transmitted diseases. It is important to find the time during the semester to get your eyes checked. Eye health is a lifelong process, and it is better to detect issues early on rather than later in life.
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