When COVID-19 closed classrooms for the first time, we got a glimpse of various digital challenges. among them, Children are not immune Too tired, dry eyes from concentrating on laptops and tablets for long periods of time. The discomfort drove some of them to their eye doctor to seek relief. To prepare students and their families for the new school year, Aspireus Health is and The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers tips for prevention digital eye strain.
“I was a digital eye strain naysayer prior to recent events,” said Stephen Lipsky, MD, pediatric ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “But in my practice I’ve really seen a significant increase in children suffering from eye strain due to the increased screen time. The good news is that most symptoms can be avoided by taking a few simple steps.”
The simple fact behind headaches, blurred vision, and tired, dry eyes is that when we use computers and other digital devices, we don’t blink as often, leaving eyes dry and irritated. And if we focus at the same distance for a long time, it can cause our vision to be temporarily blurred and fatigue the muscles around the eye, which can cause headaches. Prolonged reading, writing or other intensive close-up work can also strain the eyes.
“By the time a child reaches school age, their vision and eye alignment should be checked,” he said Dustin Wasylik, DO, Ophthalmologist at Aspirus Health. “Treating problems as soon as possible is the best thing you can do to protect your vision.”
To correct this problem, ophthalmologists — doctors who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — recommend taking a 20-second break from work nearby every 20 minutes. Here are some tips to help parents remind children to follow this important rule:
- Set a timer. Whether it’s a kitchen timer or a smart device, use it to remind your child to take a break every 20 minutes.
- Take turns reading an e-book with a real book. Encourage the children to look up and out the window every two chapters or just close their eyes for 20 seconds.
- Mark books with paperclips every few chapters. When they reach a paper clip, she reminds them to look up. For an e-book, use the “Bookmark” feature for the same effect.
Good ergonomics is just as important as regular rest for the eyes. We tend to use digital devices at less than ideal distances and angles, causing eyestrain. To encourage good posture and better habits, set up a home office for your kids. Follow these tips to optimize your workspace:
- Make sure they view laptops at arm’s length, about 18 to 24 inches from where you sit. Ideally, a monitor should be positioned at eye level directly in front of the body. Tablets should also be kept at arm’s length.
- To reduce glare, position the light source behind the back, not behind the computer screen.
- Adjust the brightness and contrast on the screen so that it feels comfortable for you.
- Do not use any device outdoors or in brightly lit areas; The glare on the screen can cause eyestrain.
- Avoid using a device in a dark room. As the pupil dilates to accommodate darkness, the brightness of the screen can worsen afterimages and cause discomfort.
- Put the device away 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. Blue light can disrupt sleep. For your procrastinating teens, switch tonight mode” or similar mode to reduce blue light exposure.
Finally, make sure they do spend some time outdoors. Computer use and other activities near work can drive a worldwide epidemic of myopia in children, although this has not yet been proven. However, several studies suggest that being outdoors, especially in early childhood, may slow the progression of myopia.
For more information on eye health, see www.eyesmart.org
To learn more about the Apirus Eye Center in Ironwood, visit aspirus.org.