With the start of school this week, there is a lot of uncertainty about what will happen this fall.
Some parents will choose online learning only. Some will choose face-to-face teaching. Some may start out with their students online and choose to send them back to school and vice-versa.
Digital device use is expected for all students regardless of the mode of education.
Prolonged smart phone, computer or tablet use can contribute to eye strain.
When the students are focusing on screens, they blink their eyes significantly less.
Less blinking decreases the tear lubrication of the eyes. The eyes feel dry and tired, which can cause blurry vision.
The remedy for digital eye strain is to follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time, look at an object or scene 20 feet away for 20 seconds to the rest the eyes.
Many students begin to wear contact lenses when they become teenagers.
Some students stay awake studying 20 hours or more with their contact lens in.
Sometimes, they fall asleep without removing their contact lenses.
This kind of excessive contact lens use can lead to eye infections, including corneal ulcers, which can lead permanent visual loss.
The students should alternate between contact lenses and eyeglasses during long study periods and always remove their contact lenses at bedtime.
The students who wear contact lenses must practice good hygiene recommended by their eye care providers to prevent eye infection.
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Another issue arises with cosmetics and eye makeup. While the sharing of these things will likely be less in the age of COVID-19, it is still likely to occur.
Sharing eye makeup among friends seems harmless but it can spread eye infection. It is best to stick to your own make up.
If there is any signs of eye infection, immediately discard the eye makeup and seek medical attention.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for the students. Regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet and 7-8 hours of sleep are some of the healthy habits.
Avoid cigarettes and any illicit drugs. By making healthy choices, the students can keep their bodies and their eyes healthy. Good education and good health have many lifelong benefits.
Dr. Frederick Ho, the medical director of Atlantic Eye MD and Atlantic Surgery and Laser Center, is a board certified ophthalmologist. Atlantic Eye MD is located at 8040 N. Wickham Road in Melbourne. To make an appointment please call (321) 757-7272. To learn more visit AtlanticEyeMD.com.