Did you know that August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month? As children are preparing to head back to school, this is a great time of year to focus on your kids’ eye health. It’s important to recognize that children aren’t immune to developing tired, dry eyes as a result of spending a large amount of time using digital devices. To prevent digital eye strain this upcoming school year, review the simple tips below.
Why Does Digital Eye Strain Occur?
Many people experience headaches, blurry vision, tired eyes, and dry eyes as a result of using digital devices for extensive periods of time. Why? When we use computers, tablets, cell phones, and other digital devices, we don’t blink as often. This leaves our eyes dry and irritated. Additionally, when we focus our eyes at the same distance for a long period of time, our vision may blur temporarily and our eyes muscles may become tired, which can lead to headaches. Furthermore, reading, writing, and other types of “near work” can also cause eye strain.
Since children often use digital devices for school these days and are also frequently reading and writing, it’s common for them to suffer from digital eye strain.
Preventing Digital Eye Strain in Children
One of the best ways to prevent digital eye strain in children is to take a 20-second break from near work every 20 minutes. How can you encourage this and remind your children to follow the rule? Check out these tips:
- Set a 20-minute timer as a reminder.
- Alternate reading e-books with real books.
- Tell your children to look out the window (or simply shut their eyes) after every two chapters.
- Place bookmarks in e-books and paperclips in actual books to remind children to look up.
In addition, it’s important to recognize that proper ergonomics can also prevent digital eye strain. We tend to hold our digital devices too close to our eyes or at bad angles, which can amplify the likelihood of eye strain. To help your children develop good habits, follow these tips when your child is doing schoolwork at home:
- Keep laptop and tablet screens about an arm’s length away from the face.
- Ensure that monitors are positioned at eye level, directly in front of the face.
- If possible, sit so that light sources (windows, lamps) are behind your back to prevent glare.
- Adjust screen brightness and contrast levels as necessary to ensure optimal comfort.
- Don’t use digital devices outside or in brightly lit spaces, as the resulting glare may cause eye strain.
- Don’t use digital devices in dark rooms, as this can aggravate the eyes.
- Avoid using digital devices in the 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
- Switch items to “night mode” when working in the evening.
Finally, make sure that your children spend plenty of time outdoors. Research suggests that this may help slow the progression of nearsightedness.
If you’re interested in learning more about children’s eye health, be sure to check out these other blog posts:
- How to Tell If Your Child Needs Glasses
- When Can a Child Start Wearing Contact Lenses?
- Signs of Vision Problems in Toddlers
- How to Get Your Child to Wear Glasses
Are you looking for a new optometrist for your family? If you live near southwest Missouri, stop by Heffington’s. Since 1975, the Heffington family has been assisting the Springfield community with top-quality eye care and affordable eyeglasses and contacts. To learn more about our products and services, please get in touch with us online, send an e-mail to [email protected], or give us a call at 417-869-3937 (Optiland location) or 417-882-3937 (House of Vision location).