Using Technology Without Sacrificing your Eyes

There is no doubt that technology has consumed the lives of many college students—we use our laptops to take notes and complete assignments, we are glued to our phones and social media, and we watch TV and play video games. And, with the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the dependency on technology for online classes was more present than ever. With so much exposure to screen time, there is one part of our body that seems to suffer the most without us even noticing—the eyes.

Eye strain occurs when a person’s eyes are sore, tired, itchy, or feel like they burn. When under the effects of eye strain, a person’s eyes will either begin watering or drying up, and they might experience blurry double vision. Some causes of eye strain include prolonged exposure to driving, lack of sleep, and, the most common cause, exposure to technology. However, there are ways for students to combat eye strain in this digital age.

Jeremy Lackman, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Health and Physical Education, said, “For students who struggle with eye strain, my suggestions are to drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, exercise your eyes with eye rolls, and take breaks from technology for about 20 minutes.” Lackman also recommends that students limit recreational screen time such as social media because students already use technology for Zoom classes and online assignments.

Brianna Vazquez-Torres, a sophomore chemistry student, said, “If my eyes get to the point where they are irritated or hurt from looking at a screen, I will close my eyes for a while and stay off technology to give my eyes a rest.” Vazquez-Torres also said that blue light glasses has helped her deal with eye strain, as they combat the blue rays that screens give off.

Nayeli Conill, a sophomore communication student, added, “When my eyes begin to hurt, I also contract headaches, so what I will do is shut everything out and listen to music, or I will paint/color in an in-depth coloring book.” She also mentioned that when her eyes begin to strain, she just needs a distraction from technology because of how addictive it is.

Some other great tips to minimize eye strain is to try to limit your late-night studying, make the text size a little bit bigger, and use physical textbooks whenever possible to avoid screen time completely.
While technology is a necessity for the modern college student, don’t forget that there is a world around you. Don’t let technology consume every moment of your day—try to unplug and take a break every so often.