Yos M. Priestley, OD Optometrist, Pediatric Optometrist has provided the following helpful information to support eye health as we continue virtual learning via the computer.
Dr. Priestly says:
I’ve been having a lot of discussions with families in my clinic about how to best manage the extended screen time required for remote learning. I thought it might be helpful to share some of the pointers I give my patients, since a lot of us are in the same boat:
Follow the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes, have your child look 20 feet away (across the room, out the window) for at least 20 seconds. Our eyes are not built for extended periods of close work - they can fatigue out, or even get locked in a spasm. Taking brief breaks, to relax and reset, can make a big difference!
Position of the Screen
The screen should be at least your child’s forearm length from their face (have them make a fist - put it up to their nose - screen should be at least as far back as their elbow). The height of the screen should be at, or slightly below, eye level (not above).
It sounds silly - but, remind your children to blink! (Blink, blink, squeeze - is the pattern I recommend.) When we focus on screens/devices our blink rate is reduced by up to 50%. Over a long screen time session, this can lead to symptoms like stinging, redness, tearing, and blurry vision. If your child is having an episode of discomfort - artificial tears (Systane, Refresh, etc) can be helpful as a “rescue”. Avoid Visine or other “get the red out” products.
Check the brightness of your child’s screen and adjust it to match the lighting level in the room. Additionally - if the device your child uses has an option to lower the blue light, you can try adjusting that setting - though available research on the benefits of reducing blue light is mixed.
When we discuss getting new glasses for kids, I do highly recommend opting for an anti-reflective coating on the lenses. This coating cuts glare from the screen and improves eye comfort