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Good Vision Vital to Learning

According to Shirley Dang in her article on Six Smart Things College Students Should Do for Their Eyes, in EyeSmart, a Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, good vision is vital to learning in college. However, life on campus makes students susceptible to a host of vision and eye problems, such as injury, infection and increased nearsightedness.

Here are six tips to help your college students see 20/20:

  1. Don’t swim or shower in contact lenses.

A rare but serious eye infection called Acanthamoeba Keratitis is caused by a parasite that lives in water. The CDC reports, 85 percent of cases occur in contact lens wearers. To avoid this infection, do not wear contact lenses in showers, hot tubs or when swimming in lakes or pools. Never use water to clean or store contact lenses; only use sterile disinfecting solution and a clean contact lens case.

  1. Go outside.

Students tend to spend most of their time studying indoors and focusing at intermediate and near. A 2014 study found that more than 50 percent of college graduates become nearsighted, with eyesight worsening for each year in school. Additional research shows spending more time outdoors can protect vision from getting worse.

  1. Wash your hands.

Pink Eye, (Conjunctivitis) is contagious and spreads fast in schools. Wash your hands with soap to avoid catching and spreading pink eye and other infections.

  1. Give your eyes a break.

To alleviate eye strain, use the 20-20-20 rule: focus on something 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. This combined with regular and full blinks, helps to reduce dry eyes and redness.

  1. Don’t share makeup.

Infection causing bacteria, such as herpes keratitis can be spread by sharing makeup. Stick to your own makeup and throw it away after three months. If you develop an eye infection, immediately toss all of your eye makeup.

  1. Protect your eyes during the game.

Nearly 1 in 18 college athletes will get an eye injury playing sports. Common injuries, like scratches on the eye surface and broken bones near the eye socket, happen most often in high-risk sports such as baseball, basketball and lacrosse. Athletes should consider wearing polycarbonate sports glasses to help keep stray balls and elbows from hitting their eyes.