For most of us this school year and your child’s learning is going to look a little different than normal, and almost certainly include more screen time. We’ve got some tips for kids (and adults too) to help reduce eye strain with the extra device time.
Make sure the screen is positioned at or slightly below eye level so that your child is looking slightly down at it, not up. A good rule of thumb for how close the screen should be is arm’s length.
The brightness of the screen should match that of the room. They should not be sitting in a dark room with a bright screen or vice versa.
If the device your child is on has the option to lower the blue light, this is a good idea. We know that too much blue light can affect our sleep cycles.
The 20/20/20 Rule
It’s simple – every 20 minutes have your child look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Our eyes need breaks and don’t do well with very extended periods of near viewing without a break. When our eyes stay focused close up for long periods it can be difficult to adjust to distance vision. The 20/20/20 rule will help with this.
Our blink rate is more than cut in half when we’re on our devices which can cause our eyes to get dry and irritated. A tip as simple as reminding your child to blink can save you both a headache.
If your child wears glasses they should have what is called an anti-glare or anti-reflective coating on the lenses. This cuts down on glare from the screen and provides considerable relief from eye strain. They also make the lenses more scratch resistant and easier to keep clean. Some newer anti-glare coatings even offer a small amount of blue light protection.
Shoot for adequate outdoor time
Studies have found that children who spend more time indoors are more likely to develop nearsightedness (myopia). Exposure to natural light is important for developing eyes. The exact cause isn’t known yet, but researchers believe that UV light plays an important role in healthy eye development. Kids need time playing outside not only for their health, but for their eyes.
Have your child’s eyes examined
Make regular eye exams a part of your child’s healthcare schedule. With these tips you may be able to tell if your child’s eyes are tired or irritated, but it’s harder to tell if they are developing a vision problem. The doctors at Columbia Eye Consultants Optometry can provide a comprehensive eye exam to determine any need for glasses or other visual problems.