The recent C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health 2020 survey of child health concerns asked a national sample of parents to rate the top health concerns for US children and teens aged 0-18 years. While the survey revealed much about the differences in concerns across racial and ethnic groups, the most significant cause for concern was overuse of social media/screen time. As many teachers and students continue to access learning via Zoom calls and Google Hang Outs, digital eye strain will remain a cause for concern for many, and I’m delighted that this week’s guest blog post addresses these concerns.
The widespread outbreak of COVID-19 has made it mandatory for many students to participate in virtual classes, which might significantly increase screen time. As most of the school syllabus is being taught online through mobile devices, tablets and, computers; the need for searching for ways to reduce digital eye strain has increased. Digital Eye Strain can be a range of vision-related problems that result from prolonged computer, tablet, e-reader and, cell phone use. Many individuals experience eye discomfort and blurred vision when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of pain appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use. Digital Eyestrain is one of the main drawbacks of online classes which is impossible to avoid altogether. We have listed some tips for students and teachers, which will help reduce eye strain due to online studies.But first, let us see the leading causes of eye strain that happen due to computer screens:
· Insufficient lighting
· The glare on a digital screen
· Incorrect viewing distance
· Poor posture while seating
· Faulty vision problems
· A combination of all of these factors
Tips for students and teachers to help reduce Digital Eye Strain:
- Take Breaks & Blink Often: You must give your eyes an adequate rest while using the screen. It would be best if you did not look at the screen for long hours continuously. Students and teachers using the screen should follow a basic rule of giving themselves a 15 minutes break every two hours. Another minute but the essential thing to follow is to blink often. This may sound simple but is very necessary to prevent dry eyes.
- Reduce glare from your computer screen: When the light is too bright, it gets difficult working on a laptop or any other digital screen. It is recommended to keep the lights directly above or behind you to minimize glare. This is applicable for both fluorescent and natural lighting. Another alternative is to use an adjustable table lamp which can be used as and where light is required.
- Use Blue-Light Filtering Glasses while using screens: Digital eye strain may increase due to the blue light from computer screens. Using Blue light blocking glasses or lens block or filter out the blue light radiated from digital screens. The lenses protect your eyes from glare and help reduce potential damage to your retina from prolonged exposure to blue light.
- Get Regular Eye check-ups: It is significant for everyone who uses digital screens to get regular eye check-ups. The frequency depends on age and if you have an existing eye problem. It would be best to be cautious of any eye discomfort, blurred vision, and persistent headaches caused by excessive screen use. Your eye doctor will be able to guide you with digital eye strain and related issues.
- Adjust Visual and brightness settings: Your eyes work harder when you see a bright screen or read tiny text. A simple way to reduce squinting while reading is to adjust the brightness and text size. Play with the settings for a few minutes until you change
the screen according to your utmost comfort. Increasing the contrast and decreasing the brightness can help some people prevent eye strain.
- Stop slouching: Students and teachers should make it a habit to sit in a proper ergonomic position while using screens. Doing this will reduce eye strain. An ergonomic position means an individual should sit in such a way that their feet are flat on the floor, the lower back is supported, arms are at a right angle and shoulders are relaxed so that forearms rest on the keyboard in a straight line.
Since learning and teaching have become more virtual and technology-based than ever before, it is even more essential to take care of your vision. Taking these steps will help you avoid digital strain. Children have different needs to use a computer comfortably. A small amount of effort for precautions can reinforce the appropriate viewing habits and assure comfortable and enjoyable computer use.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.
What behavioral changes could you make to reduce your likelihood of eye strain? I’ve embraced blue-light glasses, but admittedly should plan an eye check-up.