COVID-19 has ushered in a lot of changes to the way we live, work, and study. One of the biggest changes is the sudden shift to distance or remote learning for students across all levels. This means that they will be exposed to digital screens for longer than ever before, causing digital eye strain.
Digital eye strain can be caused by glare, different colors, and levels of brightness of your screen or the varying font sizes of the website you’re visiting. It makes the eyes work harder because the muscles in the eyes have to keep re-focusing on the screen to compensate for the varying font sizes. Like any other muscle used over and over, the muscles in the eye can also feel strained. As a result, students are likely to experience blurry or double vision, headaches, or eye redness. Others complain of eye pain and even excessive tears. So whether they are using a computer, a mobile phone or a tablet, it’s important to protect their vision by following these 10 eye care tips:
1. Create the right study area
When setting up your children’s study area, place their computer screen or tablet 18 to 24 inches away from them. If their feet dangle from the chair, add a footrest. A pillow behind their back also keeps them in an upright position instead of slouching. Make sure that the light source should not be in front of the screen (to avoid glare) or behind the monitor (to avoid shadows).
2. Tweak your computer display setting
Increasing/Standardizing the font size and adjusting the brightness/contrast and color temperature of the screen can help reduce eye strain. The rightness of your device should be the around the brightness of the room. It shouldn’t be brighter or dimmer. Also, lower the color temperature of the screen to lower the amount of blue light it emits. Blue light is linked to cause eye strain.
3. Blink often
Because you don’t blink as much when using a computer or a gadget, it’s important to remind your children do it more often. Blinking helps moisten the eyes to prevent dryness and irritation. You may post a reminder on their screen monitor or you may ask your children’s eye doctor if they can use
lubricating or artificial eye drops.
4. Take frequent eye breaks
Teach your children to rest their eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away or closing their eyes for 20 seconds. Set alarms, so they would know when to do it. This can help remind them to blink to keep their eyes from feeling dry or itchy.
5. Limit gadget use outside of their online classes
Limit your children’s gadget use during their free time or after their online classes. Encourage them to do other activities, such as playing with their siblings, doing art projects or reading books. You can also spend time or do chores with them.
6. Wear eyeglasses, if needed
If your children have been prescribed to wear prescription glasses, make sure they wear them. 80% of learning happens through sight. Not wearing their eyeglasses will make it a lot more difficult for them to see, take part in, and understand their lessons and lead to eye strain or headaches.
7. Get authentic blue-light protection
Blue light emitted by digital screens can have good and bad effects. It can elevate your mood and keep you awake during day time, but it can also disrupt the normal sleep pattern because it signals the brain to wake up. This could be why you might be having a hard time putting your children to sleep. This type of lenses also offers relief from digital eye strain, and it helps reduce the amount of blue light that enters the eye. Check out our blue-light protected glasses here.
8. Watch out for signs of eye problems
Most children don’t complain about having blurry vision, so parents should observe their children closely. Common signs are frequent headaches and eye rubbing, squinting or tilting their head when looking at the screen. If the child’s eyes turn inward or outward, it is important to have your child’s
eyes checked right away.
9. Schedule a complete eye checkup
80% of children’s learning is through their sight. Ideally, children should undergo complete eye checkups every year, usually before classes start. This allows the eye doctor to detect and address their eye problems early, so it doesn’t bother them during classes and affect their school performance.