With online classes now the norm, the concern, for many parents, is that it will cause eye strain that may affect their children’s sight due to increased screen time. This has been an issue heard by the team at Monnow Eyecare.
What causes digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain, sometimes known as Computer Vision Syndrome, is caused by an increase in screen time on digital devices such as computers, laptops and tablets. Children complaining of itchy or tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches or neck pain could be indicators that they are experiencing eye strain.
Is home schooling a problem?
While more parents have been worried about the effect increased screen time may have on their children’s sight, optometrist Helen Tilley says there are ways to combat it. “We have definitely had more questions since the start of the year from parents concerned that their children have been struggling with tired eyes. When you are looking at a screen for an extended period of time, your eyes are affected because you are not blinking as much, which can cause dry eyes. Long periods of time focusing on one point can also affect the eyes, as well as increased exposure to the blue light emitted from digital screens which can be a problem for children’s developing eyes. However, the positive thing is that blue light won’t cause damage to the eyes and there are actions you can take at home, including very simple measures such as taking regular breaks from screens, to help the situation.”
Helen’s top tips to combat eye strain at home
Practise the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds, which will help to rest the muscles in your eye.
Adjust the screen position: make sure the top of the monitor is slightly below eye level, so you are looking downward.
Lower the brightness on the screen: your screen should be about the same brightness as the environment around you; use dark settings or lower brightness if required to prevent glare.
Blink more regularly: making a conscious effort to blink more frequently will refresh tired eyes.
Helen added: “Some young children may not be aware they are having issues with their eyes, so make sure you have regular communication with them to ask how they are feeling, and watch out for signs such as rubbing eyes. The best action you can take, if you still have concerns, is to get your child’s eye tested by a qualified optometrist at your local opticians. It is very important to get your child’s eyes tested if you have any concerns about digital eye strain. Even at the age of four to five, your local optician will be able to fully test the eyesight of your child.”
If you or your child are experiencing problems with using screens for longer, please book an appointment by calling our friendly receptionists on 01600 715 299.