Hello LYLWL Family,
When COVID-19 first shut classrooms, we got a glimpse into different digital challenges. Among them, kids aren’t immune to developing tired, dry eyes from concentrating on laptops and tablets for extended periods of time. The discomfort drove some of them to their ophthalmologist, looking for relief.
What is Eye Strain?
“Eye strain is more of a symptom than an actual condition,” explains Laurie Barber, MD, a comprehensive ophthalmologist in Little Rock, Ark. “People use the term differently. One person may mean their eyes are tired or watery, while another may have blurred vision. Some people may have headaches they attribute to eye strain, and others may have facial muscle fatigue from squinting for long periods because they are not wearing the correct glasses. Eye strain does not injure the eye and does not cause permanent damage, Dr. Barber said. “But it’s worthwhile to make simple changes when you are concentrating on a task to increase your eye comfort.”
To prepare students and their families for the new school year, Living Your Life Without Limits and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are sharing tips to help prevent digital eye strain. To fix this problem, ophthalmologists — physicians specializing in medical and surgical eye care — recommend taking a 20-second break from near work every 20 minutes.
Here are some tips to help parents remind kids to follow this vital rule:
- Set a timer. Whether a kitchen timer or a smart device, use it to remind your child to take a break every 20 minutes.
- Alternate reading an e-book with a real book. Encourage children to look up and out the window every two chapters or simply shut their eyes for 20 seconds.
- Pre-mark books with paperclips every few chapters. When they reach a paper clip, it will remind them to look up. On an e-book, use the “bookmark” function for the same effect.
In addition, good ergonomics is as important as resting the eyes periodically. We tend to use digital devices at less than ideal distances and angles, which leads to eyestrain. To encourage good posture and better habits, set up a “home office” for your kids. Follow these tips to optimize their workspace.
For more information or other helpful wellness tips, visit our free resource section on the LYLWL’s Website.
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