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Four Ways to Protect Children’s Eyes During Screen Time

Digital technology has provided us with valuable educational innovations, but it has also increased the amount of time that we spend looking at screens. With many schools setting up virtual classrooms and relying on remote learning, children of all ages are experiencing more screen time than ever. We know that increased screen time can cause eye strain, fatigue, and headaches, but the good news is that there are steps you can take to protect your children’s eyes.1 The eye doctors at Virginia Eye Consultants are dedicated to preserving the eye health and vision of families in our community, and we believe that incorporating these simple tips into your remote learning plan will help keep you and your child’s eyes healthy.

How to Protect Eye Health During Remote Learning

 

1. Set Devices Up Properly

Adults working from home have had to devise more ergonomic setups to mimic the comfortable environment of an office and kids learning at home need a good setup too. When it comes to eye health, it is important to have screens set up 20 to 24 inches away from the face. When a screen is closer than that, this may cause eye strain and muscle fatigue that may lead to larger eye problems.

2. Schedule Frequent Breaks

Many eye problems associated with screen time result from the fact that we blink less often when looking at screens. An easy way to address this is to follow the 20-20-20 rule: Set a timer for every 20 minutes, and have your child look at least 20 feet away from their screen for 20 seconds (20-20-20 rule is recommended for adults working on screens as well!) For longer breaks, make an effort to get outside when possible since studies show that adequate outdoor time can also have an impact on children’s eye health.2

3. Pay Attention to Potential Vision Issues

Depending on their age, children may not realize changes in their own vision or they may not have the language to describe vision changes. Keep watch and schedule a comprehensive eye examination if you notice any of the following:

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