Monday, December 10, 2018

EYE STRAIN: Staring at a Computer All Day (Finals)

The first two weeks of December marks lots of joy for the holiday season but also lots of chaos for many students within the United States. These two weeks are usually marred by final exams for the end of the semester and are usually quite stressful. Technology involvement in education has exponentially grown over the past 5 years, and even as a college student, I find it difficult keeping up with all the new technology resources my university provides for me every semester. While technology involvement has made education much more diverse, it also has brought many bad side effects such as Computer Vision Syndrome.

LIKE IT OR NOT: The days of burying your head in a book before finals are gone.

Laptops are now essentially mandatory for college and studying or completing assignments are now impossible without a computer. Often, studying for just a single college final exam requires multiple hours of study time. The problem with computers instead of books nowadays is that students end up staring at a computer screen for an unhealthy duration. According to the American Optometric Association, "Viewing a computer or digital screen often makes the eyes work harder. As a result, the unique characteristics and high visual demands of computer and digital screen device viewing make many individuals susceptible to the development of vision-related symptoms".

So what should I do?

Computer vision syndrome
Source: American Optometric Association

First things first, it is important that while using a computer to have a correct sitting posture. The above diagram by the AOA gives a fantastic overview.

Secondly, my advice would be for students to not cram studying the night before. Study over many days to reduce the time of each computer session.

Lastly, take many breaks while studying. This is important not just for eyesight, but also for better material retrieval during the exam.

Have a great exam/holiday season!

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