How to prevent eye strain in kids is an emerging concern, with school districts now offering virtual learning options that add several hours of screen time.
Children learning in front of computer screens adding to the screen time already spent on phones and tablets on their own, increases the potential for serious eye strain.
Some children fail to notice any eye discomfort from staring at a screen, perhaps being so caught up in a game’s actions.
“Spending too much time in front of screens on computers, phones and tablets can lead to headaches, blurry vision, dry eyes and more,” explains Dr. Jeff Kegarise, an optometrist, and co-author of One Patient at a Time: The K2 Way Playbook for Healthcare & Business Success (www.theK2Way.com).
Dr. Kegarise says parents can help their children alleviate and prevent eye strain by making sure they do the following:
Take frequent breaks
With most virtual schedules being set by teachers, children will not have the option to take breaks anytime they want. A good reminder is the 20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen at a distant object for at least 20 seconds.
Choose the correct lighting
The right type of lighting illuminating a work space can make a big difference. Incandescent lighting gives off less glare than fluorescent lighting. Also, lighting over the shoulder is preferred to lighting directly down on the screen as it causes fewer reflections.
Adjust the computer position
The computer monitor and keyboard placement should be adjusted to fit your child’s size. Check that the monitor isn’t too high for your child’s field of view. A chair with an adjustable height will also help.
Remember to blink
This seems like a silly reminder, but children can become so engrossed in watching something entertaining that they can go for long periods without blinking. Reminding your kids to blink will ensure their eyes stay lubricated and thus prevent dry eyes.
Utilize blue light filters and protective eye wear
Prolonged exposure to blue light emitted from our devices contributes to digital eye strain. Wearing protective glasses that filter blue light when using digital devices for extended periods of time, reduces this exposure. Filters for your smart phones and computer screens can also help.
Following these simple tips coupled with an annual eye exam will protect the eye health of your tech-savvy children for many years to come.
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