This fall, a record 21.7 million students will attend a college or university in the United States. Many young people are living away from home for the first time without a mother or father around to reinforce healthy habits, including how to care for their eyes. As students get to their work, we want to provide students and their parents with tips on eye health colleges to ensure their freshmen men and women continue on 20/20 school.
While precise vision plays an important role in learning, students in college can be susceptible to a host of vision and eye problems such as injury, infection and increased nearsightedness that can complicate life in and outside of class. Crowded dorms and classes can serve as a breeding ground for infectious diseases of the eye, while reading and computer use in schools is linked with poorer vision. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid these and other issues on campus eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology, the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons, offers the following six tips for protecting the eye during marriage:
• Do not shower or swim with contact lenses. Acanthamoeba is a parasite that lives in water and can cause a rare but serious eye infection called Acanthamoeba keratitis. According to the CDC, 85 percent of Acanthamoeba eye infections occur in contact lens wearers, one of the main risks of exposure of lenses to water. To avoid this dangerous infection, do not wear contact lenses with showers, hot tubs or when swimming in the lake or pool. Also, never use water to clean or store contact lenses; Only use sterile contact lens disinfecting solution and a contact lens case clean.
• Go outside. Scholastically inclined students spend much of their time studying indoors, which may put them at risk of being more myopic, or nearsighted. A 2014 study found that more than 50 percent of college graduates are myopic, with worsening vision for each school year. Other research shows that spending more time outdoors can protect vision from getting worse. Go outside when possible.
• Wash your hands. Conjunctivitis, often called pink eye, spreads rapidly in schools and dorms. An outbreak struck more than 1,000 Ivy League college students in 2002. Avoid rubbing the eyes and wash hands with soap to avoid catching and spreading pink eye, not to mention other infections.
• Give your eyes a break. Nearly 80 percent of the engineering and medical school students experienced symptoms such as dry eyes and redness, according to a study of students at an Indian university. To help prevent eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule: look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. Since dry eye can also cause painful corneal ulcers, which are open sores in the front part of the eye, blink regularly and fully to keep the eyes moist.
• Do not share makeup. Harmless as it may seem, sharing makeup is a surefire way to spread the infection like herpes keratitis among friends. Infection-causing bacteria grow easily in creamy or liquid eye 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.
• Protect your eyes during the game. Nearly 1 in 18 college athletes will get an eye injury playing sports. Common injuries, such as scratches on the surface of the eye and a broken bone near the eye socket, occur frequently in high-risk sports such as baseball, basketball and lacrosse. Athletes should consider wearing glasses polycarbonate sports to help keep stray balls and elbows from touching their eyes.
“For many young people just starting college, taking care of their eye health may be the last thing on their minds,” says Rebecca Taylor, M.D., comprehensive clinical ophthalmologist and spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “But the fact is that an eye injury or condition can affect their grades and social life, causing days or even a lifetime of poor vision. We hope that parents remind their children to risks before they fly the coop this fall. “