How to look after your eyes at school?

1. September 2014

Most students in Europe have already started or are just about to start school after the summer break. What are the important things to keep in mind in order to protect their eyes and look after your wellbeing?

Eyes must be well taken care of, no matter what age you are or which type of school you are attending. The earlier you start to look after your eyes the better. Dr Ants Haavel from KSA Vision Clinic reminds us that there are various eye-related problems that can be faced by children and teenagers.

“Younger kids may get lazy eye (amblyopia), which is a disorder of sight caused by one eye being more dominating than the other, hindering the development of the weaker eye,” Dr Haavel explains. He also adds that even though all of us have one eye that is stronger than the other, there can be a danger that due to the “lazy mode” the other eye may not properly develop. “When that is noticed at an early stage, we can intervene to try to fix the problem. For example, the dominating eye can be covered, forcing the other eye to develop better. That can only be done with children, not adults,” Dr Haavel says.

Students at elementary schools and high schools may experience eye problems due to their active lifestyle. “Some students may have limited vision and notice that it is challenging to either read books or see what’s shown on the whiteboard. Hence the first eyeglasses are required ” Dr Haavel tells .Older students often struggle with short-sightedness. Many of them would prefer to wear contact lenses – yet they don’t suit everyone.

How to look after eyes at school

* Know your body! “It is important to know your body and pay attention to the signals it gives you. If you feel that it is hard to see, either close by or far ahead, and your eyesight seems blurry, it is time to see an eye doctor for an examination,” Dr Haavel recommends. It is essential to see an eye doctor regularly.

* Enjoy light! Light is essential for eyes, and they have to work harder in darkness. Using your eyes too much in the dark will make them tired and cause problems. Make sure your classroom and your home are well lit.

* Gymnastics for the eyes! A tip from Dr Ants Haavel: “After a long period of reading or sitting in front of a computer screen, give your eyes a little rest.” He recommends looking into the distance for a change, and moving them up and down, left and right.

* Moisturise your eyes! Sometimes eyes may get dry. Rather than rubbing, they need moisturising. “Rubbing eyes is never recommended, whether or not they are dry or moist. It is better to wipe them off and the irritation will disappear. For moisturising I recommend lukewarm clean water, or eye drops which are available at pharmacies. Clean water is the most natural option,” Dr Haavel recommends.