It’s a fact that there is a world-wide epidemic of myopia, also known as nearsightedness. Since 1971, the incidence of nearsightedness in the US nearly doubled, to 42 percent. In Asia, up to 90 percent of teenagers and adults are nearsighted. Clearly, something is going on. But scientists can’t agree on exactly what.
“Since 1971, nearsightedness in the US nearly doubled to 42 percent.”
While scientists look for a definitive answer, there is no doubt that most computer users experience digital eye strain. Kids are no different from adults when it comes to digital eye strain. In fact, they can experience dry eye, headaches and blurry vision too. While symptoms are typically temporary, they may be frequent and persistent.
But this does not mean they need a prescription for computer glasses or that they have developed an eye condition of middle-age that requires reading glasses, as some suggest. It also doesn’t mean blue light coming from computer screens is damaging their eyes. It means they need to take more frequent breaks. This is because we don’t blink as often while using computers and other digital devices. Extended reading, writing or other intensive near-work can also cause eye strain. Ophthalmologists recommend taking a 20 second break from near-work every 20 minutes.
Here are ten tips to help protect your child’s eyes from computer eye strain:
Set a kitchen timer or smart device timer to remind them.
Alternate reading an e-book with a real book and encourage kids to look up and out the window every two chapters.
After completing a level in a video game, look out the window for 20 seconds.
Pre-mark books with a paperclip every few chapters to remind your child to look up. On an e-book, use the “bookmark” function for the same effect.
Avoid using a computer outside or in brightly lit areas, as the glare on the screen can create strain.
Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screen so that it feels comfortable to you.
Use good posture when using a computer and when reading.
Encourage your child to hold digital media farther away, 18 to 24 inches is ideal.
Create a distraction that causes your child to look up every now and then.
Remind them to blink when watching a screen.
Schedule your appointment.
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