Covid-19 and Kids’ Digital Eye Strain | Golden Rules Gal

May, 11, 2021

The eyes have had it! When it comes to looking at a computer screen for five-plus hours a day, the eyes will take a toll. Here’s how to help preserve your child’s vision even with screen time being a large part of the day. If not, glasses may be required.

  1. Keep a Safe Distance. Remote learning is the new normal because of the coronavirus. With many kids learning on mobile phones and computers, the reading distance has decreased from 16 to 10 inches. According to Dr. Dana Dean, a Behavioral Optometrist at Vision Intelligence, “The key with this new chronic longer exposure to screens is that these effects are cumulative. The earlier we understand and help protect and support our children’s vision, the better off they will be.”  Dr. Dean will be launching blue light protection eyewear this year for children and teens.
  2. Prevent Eye Strain. Eye fatigue is real! Add this with spending half of your day looking at a screen, and discomfort may take place. To help it, take regular breaks. The more time spent in front of a screen, the more eye strain, fatigue, headaches, or blurred vision can be caused. 
  3. Get Fresh Air. Encourage outdoor exercise. Studies show that two hours of outdoor light is essential for healthy development. As for eye health, it can protect against nearsightedness. Take breaks and make recess and after-school activities part of your child’s schedule! 
  4. Help Your Child Practice Good Habits. Even with increased screen time, help protect your child’s eyes by encouraging healthy habits. Long stretches of screen time can cause the eyes to get dry and irritated. This occurs anytime your child is focused on a “near task” such as reading, writing, or staring at a screen. Additionally, we tend to blink less when focusing on something up close, which can cause eye dryness and overall eye strain.
  5. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule. 2020 just won’t go away. Your doctor may have told you this, but every 20 minutes you spend using a screen, you should try to look away at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This allows the eyes to relax and return to their natural setting. There’s even an app that can help you remember this rule.

My niece, Ashley, at her high school graduation from Thomas Downey High School in Modesto, CA.

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