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Your university years are some of the most exciting and mind-enriching years of your life. They’re also the first years most young people spend away from their parents’ home, and university students are prone to a lot of vision problems that they either didn’t have to deal with when they were younger, or that they’ll have to handle for the first time on their own without Mom and Dad.

If you’re embarking on your studies, finding your major, and figuring out what you want to do with the rest of your life, you certainly don’t want to be dragged down by eye fatigue, infections, and other vision problems.

Here are tips you can follow at college or university to help maintain your vision.

TAKE CONTACTS OUT BEFORE SWIMMING OR SHOWERING

Acanthamoeba and other parasites and infectious bacteria often live in water, and you might be surprised by how many of these microorganisms can survive, even in a heavily chlorinated university swimming pool. You can avoid getting a nasty infection and significant damage to your vision (acanthamoeba infestations can lead to blindness) by taking contact lenses out when you go to bed at night, and whenever you shower or go for a swim.

WASH YOUR HANDS AND AVOID TOUCHING YOUR EYES

Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is incredibly contagious, and can spread across a university campus in no time. Fortunately, you can avoid catching or spreading this itchy, burning eye infection by washing your hands frequently and resisting the urge to rub your eyes when you’re feeling tired in class or studying late at night.

On a similar note, avoid sharing makeup with friends. Using the same mascara wand can spread conjunctivitis, herpes keratitis, and a number of other infections. Being selfish with your makeup could help you keep your vision and avoid spreading diseases.

GET SOME SUNSHINE

While studying is incredibly important, more and more people all over the world are experiencing vision problems due to eye strain from staring at computers for too long. While we’re not telling you to shirk your homework or studying responsibilities, we are definitely recommending that you get outside and enjoy daylight. Nearly 50 percent of university students are myopic (nearsighted), and studies have shown that the average student’s vision gets noticeably worse each year.

Fortunately, studies have also shown that spending time outside in natural light settings can actually help protect vision from getting worse due to too much near-focus work.

TAKE A BREAK

Even if you can’t get outside while the sun is shining, you can protect your vision by taking a break once or twice an hour. Take just a few minutes to stare off into space, or close your eyes and massage your temples. Then, focus on objects far across the room or out the window. Giving your eyes a break like this can greatly diminish the effects of eye fatigue and help prevent vision loss or impairment.

Pay attention to your vision as you go through your day. If you feel like you can’t focus on things that are far away from you, or you think you’ve had any change in your vision since you’ve been in school, make an appointment with your ophthalmologist as soon as possible for a full exam.

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