Going Back to School With Dry Eyes

I recently made the decision to go back to school to earn my master’s degree in clinical nutrition. Actually, my dry eyes have been what sparked my interest in nutrition and my subsequent decision to change careers.

Dry eye can complicate education

However, my dry eyes have also been one of my biggest challenges in going back to school. I knew that I would have to do a lot of reading and spending time on the computer. I guess I didn’t realize just how much reading I would be doing. It really does take a toll on my eyes.

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For the past several years, I have worked as an English teacher. And I definitely did my fair share of reading and computer work in this position. But as a student again, I have had to work sometimes late into the evening–when my eyes are their worst. Trying to concentrate on difficult material when my eyes are bothering me is not an easy task. I’m blinking constantly, putting in drops, and trying to read through blurred vision. Let’s just say it’s not the ideal circumstance for productivity and understanding.

So I’ve come up with some strategies to help me get my work done without straining my eyes more than necessary.

Productivity tips with dry eyes

  1. First, I try to get all of my reading done in the mornings as mornings are the time when my eyes feel their best. I really hate reading when my eyes feel irritated, so I try to do this first thing in the mornings. I can watch lectures and work on my assignments later in the day, if need be. To me, reading takes the most amount of concentration with my eyes, so I prioritize this.
  2. Second, I take school work outside. My eyes feel better outside than inside. The humidity of the South (I live in Louisiana) bathes my eyes in moisture, and I can go longer when I’m outside without having to put in eyedrops.
  3. Finally, I give myself a break when I need one. If I need to call it quits for the day, I do. If I need to take a nap midday to give my eyes a re-set, I take one. One weekend I had been particularly busy with lots of other responsibilities, and I decided to turn in an assignment late and take the point deduction because I was up late and my eyes were really bothering me. I just do the best I can when I can, and I don’t feel bad about it./li>

In all, going back to school with dry eyes has been a challenge. But I’m determined not to let it deter me from accomplishing my dreams. I make use of my strategies, keep up my dry eye maintenance routines, and enjoy the ride!"

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