Eye Care Tips for Teachers
Teaching is a demanding profession which involves intense close work such as reading, writing, correcting papers, preparing lessons, or working in front of a computer screen for long periods of time. The pressures of teaching can take a toll on the physical and mental health of teachers and put a tremendous strain on the eyes. This strain can manifest as symptoms of eye fatigue which include eye irritation, blurred or double vision, dryness or excessive tears, headache, difficulty focusing, light sensitivity, or pain in the neck, shoulders, or back.
As teachers, it is important for you to look after your health so that you can face classroom challenges head-on. The following tips can help reduce the chance of developing eye problems and disorders and keep your eyes and vision healthy in the years to come.
- Make your working environment comfortable – Ensure there is adequate lighting to support classroom activities such as reading, writing on blackboard, presentations, coaching on the computer, tests, project work, etc.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule to avoid eye strain when you are working on a computer. Every 20 minutes, look at an object that is 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
- Blink frequently (14 to 16 times a minute) to keep the front surface of the eye moist and minimize your chance of developing dry eye when using a computer.
- Special spectacles or contact lens designs with tints or coatings that reduce the effects of extended computer viewing may help to maximize visual abilities and comfort.
- Visit your eye doctor regularly to help protect sight. If you are over the age of 40, dilated eye exams every couple of years can help detect diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration in their early stages.
- Eat right for good eye health – A diet rich in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zinc, can help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts.
- Ensure that you rest your eyes properly by getting a good night’s sleep. Inadequate sleep may contribute to eye fatigue, puffy and dry eyes, eye spasms, popped eye vessels and dark circles. Good sleep (7-8 hours) rests the eye muscles and provides the necessary fluid circulation.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight – Regular exercise stimulates the entire body, lowers your odds of obesity, and can reduce your chances of developing serious eye diseases such as diabetes (which can lead to diabetes-related eye disorders and blindness), glaucoma, and macular degeneration.
- Wear sunglasses when out doors to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV light. Too much UV exposure increases your chance of cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Make sure you drink sufficient water to avoid dehydration – which can lead to reduced tear production, dry eye, eye strain, blurred vision and headaches.
- Be aware of your family’s eye health history – as some eye disorders are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing a hereditary eye disease or condition.