The “back to school season” is going to be very different this year with distance learning being an integral part of all forms of education. Whether you are a student yourself, maybe you are a teacher or a parent who’s looking over students. We are all going to be spending more time in front of computer screens looking at lectures or looking at a tablet or doing some sort of homework or studying on a digital device or working from home. And that can lead to a lot of eye problems.
Here are my three-eye health distance learning tips for students, parents, teachers, and corporates.
Tip No. 1
Our eyes are going to be focused on a device just in front of our faces and with that comes eye strain. With this increased eye strain, you can feel the pressure between the eyes. It becomes hard to focus on. Your vision can fade in and out and it can even lead to tension and headaches. So the best thing everybody should be doing is to try to take frequent breaks.
Most eye doctors will, in fact, quote what is called the 20-20-20 rule which says that every 20 minutes you should do some sort of activity, a 20-second break looking 20 feet away. This is a fantastic rule of thumb. However, I find it a little difficult to follow all of the time. Especially if you’re listening to a lecture or something like that, that you don’t have control over to be like I’m going to stop and take a break. It’s a little tough to follow. I suppose you could set a timer on your phone and if you already do that, that’s amazing for you.
But I think it’s a little bit more realistic that everybody could at least spend five minutes an hour if you’re listening to a lecture once it’s done get up leave your seat, give yourself a break. I don’t mean to just leave the computer screen and then flip open your phone and look at Instagram for 10 minutes. In all seriousness, you need to give your eyes and your mind a break. So leave the computer screen, go over to an open window, look outside stretch a little bit, get a drink of water, use the restroom. Something that’ll give your eyes a break and that’ll even give you a mental break because it’s just better to reset your mind and kind of regain focus on the next task at hand.
Tip No. 2
It is to be aware of how much blue light you are being exposed to. All of our digital devices these days have a lot of blue light being emitted from them so much that different developers like MACand pc developers Microsoft windows, they recognize that blue light is a problem. They’ve developed free apps in their software that’ll shift the blue light emittance to a lot lower. It makes the screen look kind of a dim yellow and potentially even orange look to it. It’s not everybody’s favorite but it is at least probably the easiest way to start dimming your blue light exposure.
Otherwise, exposure to blue light has been found to affect our sleep cycles. It suppresses melatonin, your sleep hormone and if you’re getting a lot of blue light exposure throughout the day, particularly in the later evenings then your melatonin may be suppressed and you’re probably not going to get as good as sleep that night.
Sleep is super important for developing memories which are essential for learning.
Outside of the blue light and night modes for tablets, your phone, or computer again not everybody’s a huge fan of them. Because they don’t like how their screen looks a little bit yellow. As an alternative, there are many styles of blue light protecting glasses out there. There are ones that are super dark yellow if you want the bluest light protection.
Tip No. 3
My third tip for you has to do with the eyes getting red and irritated. A big thing that people don’t think about is that when we’re staring at a computer screen our blink rate drops dramatically. Just in normal conversation, you blink around 20 times a minute. But when you’re staring at a computer screen or digital device, we stare so intensely focused that our blink rate drops to only about four to five times a minute. That’s pretty significant because you’re not blinking as much, your tears evaporate and that leads to dry, irritated eyes. And because they’re dry and irritated, that causes an inflammatory cycle. That causes your blood vessels on the eye to dilate, making your eyes look more red.
So a few things that you can do to help relieve this dryness and irritating feeling are to, of course, one tries to remember to blink more often, and if you do need to take a break make sure to blink your eyes a hundred percent.
Some people, like myself, we’re incomplete blinkers. That means my eyelids don’t completely close 100% of the way when I’m blinking. So I have to remember to pretty much completely blink a few times. Also, you need to keep a bottle of artificial tears handy just next to your desk. That way if your eyes are feeling dry and you need to use that extra little bit of help, you can just put a single drop of lubrication into both eyes. But these dry eye feelings on the computer is pretty common. So if you’re even noticing these yourself let me know in the comment section if you’re using eye drops or doing anything else to help relieve or soothe your dry irritated eyes.
This whole blink rate issue has a much larger implication for the development of dry eye disease and that’s because we’re not blinking as much. That means the oil glands on the eyelid which secrete and release oil to prevent your tears from evaporating, those oil glands work every time you blink. And if you’re not blinking, those oils become compacted and they don’t release. This can further lead to a form of evaporative dry eye disease. All eye doctors and dry eye specialists are recognizing more and more people developing dry eye disease. Not just in their older years but also younger students, people in college, and even into high school are developing this type of dry eye.
So for that reason, I do encourage you if your eyes are red irritated and becoming a problem make sure to talk to your local eye care professional right away to be seen for some form of dry eye assessment.
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