It is that time of the year again when teenagers and in fact students of all ages, are putting extreme demands on their eyes with revision and exams.

If you are a student or perhaps a parent of a young person doing exams, then some of the tips below should help.

Let’s not forget that reading is not a natural process for our eyes. In evolutionary terms our visual systems are those of ‘hunter gathers’, so designed to see in the far distance, not to spend hours staring at books, or worse still looking at screens.

Below are some tips to help your eyes cope with the demands you are putting on them.

Tip 1. Whether you are using a computer, a laptop, or a tablet you need to have regular breaks. The same goes if you are reading books and making revision notes. You should have a 5 to 10-minute break every hour and ideally walking around away from your desk. Don’t be tempted to look at your mobile phone during this break! You need to focus on the far distance. You should also have mini breaks. The Americans have a 10:10:10 rule, every 10-minutes, look at least 10 metres away, for a minimum of 10 seconds. This will help to reduce eye strain.

Tip 2. Don’t get too close to your screen or book. The minimum distance you should be from your book or screen is 40-50 cm. Any closer and you are putting an unnecessary strain on your eyes.

Tip 3. Don’t forget to blink!  You can become so engrossed in your work that you forget to blink. This causes your eyes to dry out so, stick a post-it note on your desk, in a prominent position, that simply says blink!

Tip 4. Have the right amount of light in the room. Too dark and you will struggle to see the print, too bright and you may well induce headaches. Similarly ensure there are no reflections from lights on your computer screen.

Tip 5. If you are reading on a computer, choose a reasonable size font so you don’t have to squint or get very close to the screen to see it. Try 14 point as a starter and you can adjust accordingly.

There are also a couple of DON’TS:

  • Don’t revise on your mobile phone
  • Don’t read in the dark by torch light.
  • Don’t be tempted to work through the night. Your eyes need to rest as much as you do.

Good luck, work hard and respect your eyes!