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Eye Strain in the Classroom

September 15, 2023

Both in and out of the classroom, school can weigh heavy on your eyes. Late-night study sessions and long days at the desk can take a toll on your vision and put you at an increased risk of eye concerns. To avoid eye strain, here are some tricks and techniques to use.   

Follow The 20-20-20 Rule 

Your eyes don’t like to stare for too long. Try to remind yourself to blink regularly, applying that natural coating to your lens to hydrate your eyes and protect them from infection. Also, follow the 20-20-20 rule to break up your long staring sessions. 

Every 20 minutes, look at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This could be out a window or far across a room if you’re in a large enough area. This rule is particularly helpful when working at a computer as it takes you from near sight to distant sight, adjusting your eyes.  

Turn Up the Lights 

When looking at your laptop, tablet, or phone, adjust the brightness to match the environment around you. If you can, adjust your screen settings as well, finding ways to increase contrast (like by activating dark mode) if your eyes are still feeling strained.  

While your eyes might work just fine in low-light settings, continuously reading or studying without sufficient lighting can put a strain on your eyes. Use a book light that clamps to the pages if you want to read at night without turning on all the lamps nearby.  

When studying, have a good desk lamp and consider turning on ambient light so space around your work area is illuminated as well. On a similar note, avoid staring at a bright device screen in a dark room — it’s not good for your eyesight.  

Use Eye Massage 

A good eye massage can help relieve and prevent eye strain while giving you a well-deserved mini break from a long hard school day. To massage your eyes well, rub your palms together quickly to heat them up with friction. Once they’re warm, press them against your eyes and hold them there for about 15 to 30 seconds. The warmth will relax your muscles. 

If you want to further relax your eyes to relieve headaches and eye strain, try applying a warm compress or using a weighted eye mask at night. Gently rubbing your temples can also help, especially if you’re experiencing a tension headache.  

Adjust Your Devices 

When using a device, try to use the Harmon distance, which is the space from your middle knuckle to the center of your elbow. This is the minimum distance you should be from a screen when using a computer or laptop. Once you have found this distance, find a way to sit with proper posture comfortably. 

In addition to your distance from your screen, you can also minimize eye strain by adjusting settings such as text size. While you might think overcompensating with large text could harm your eyes, it’s just the opposite — your eyes won’t have to work as hard, and that’s a good thing. It’ll also prevent you from subconsciously leaning closer to your screen to read.  

Get Regular Eye Exams 

At the beginning of every school year, make it a habit to get a routine eye exam where your doctor can check for signs of visual decline and early symptoms of future problems, including hereditary cataracts or vision loss. It’s a great preventative measure, and by ensuring you have an updated prescription, you can keep your eyes comfortable all year long.  

Have you seen your eye doctor in the last 12 months? If not, schedule your appointment at the Vision Center South nearest you today and plan for a great year ahead.  

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