Wellness & Lifestyle

Looking Out for Your Eyes

It is believed that eyes are windows to your soul, and yet taking good care of our eyes and vision is an easily forgotten part of maintaining health and wellness. As a student at Berkeley, it is likely that you are putting a lot of extra stress on your eyes just from studying, reading, and working on the computer. It’s important to remember to take a break sometimes and let your eyes rest. They’ll thank you in the end.

Reading nonstop for too long and working on the computer will strain your eyes and can lead to dreadful migraine headaches. During these activities, you tend to blink less, making your eyes dry and tired. A quick fix to this dilemma is to take a break every 30 to 45 minutes. Stand up, stretch, and look away from your textbook or computer screen. Consider splashing your face with cool water or pressing your palms against your eyelids to soothe them. Always make sure to study in good light. Natural light is best so try to keep your windows open when you study. In the evening, turn on the lights to reduce stress to your eyes.

Also make sure to turn off your electronic devices well before going to sleep. Artificial light decreases the secretion of melatonin which in turn interferes with the body’s circadian rhythms and thus with your sleep.

Even though Berkeley may seem cloudy and dreary on some days, it’s a good idea to invest in a good pair of sunglasses that provide UV protection. It’s a commonly known fact that UV rays are harmful to your eyes and skin. This type of short wavelength light can cause long term damage to the eye, especially to the retina. So be sure to put on some shades and keep your eyes safe!

If you wear contact lenses or glasses, make sure to keep them clean and get regular checkups to make sure the prescription you are using is accurate. In case of an injury or problem in the eye, it is best to refrain from using contact lenses until the injury has completely healed. This will prevent any type of infection or permanent damage. Keeping your hands and face clean and avoiding touching your eyes will also prevent common eye infections like conjunctivitis. Also make sure not to share eye makeup with others to avoid spreading bacteria.

Eat a wholesome diet and don’t forget to include plenty of leafy greens and vegetables. Foods that are high in antioxidants, such as broccoli and spinach, are good for your eyes and can reduce the risk of serious eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.

Finally, make sure to always wear protective eyewear in a laboratory setting. Follow emergency protocol in case something does get into your eye. Always wash your eyes thoroughly with water if they have been contaminated. And make sure to follow up with an eye checkup to make sure everything is ok. There are many resources on campus at Berkeley to help you to take care of your eyes. As a student at Berkeley, you have the opportunity to visit the Berkeley Optometry Clinic should you require an appointment for an eye checkup. There are two Berkeley Optometry clinics conveniently located close to campus: the Meredith W. Morgan Eye Center, located near the Haas Business School, and the Optometry Clinic at the Tang Center. You can schedule an appointment online at http://www.caleyecare.org/schedule-appointment or over the phone. The clinic is also available for emergency care; call them at (510) 642-2020 for emergencies (or at (510) 642-0992 after hours).

Taking care of your eyes is easy and simple. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to forget how important it is to do so. Taking the time to rest your eyes and protect them will preserve your precious vision for longer. Look out for your eyes and I guarantee they will look out for you too!

Article by Priya Bhattacharjee

Feature Image Source: Rosenstein Vision