Effective measures to manage digital eye strain

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought in its wake an emerging epidemic of digital eye strain. Digital eye strain can affect anyone with prolonged exposure to screens such as smartphones, computers, televisions, tablets, and video games. The increase in screen time has always been a concern for parents and this worry has intensified in recent times due to online schooling. Although parents were relieved that classes could continue online, their relief was short-lived as children began to complain of headaches, eye pain and discomfort due to the increased time. walked past the screen. Besides using devices for online lessons, homework and homework, children increasingly have no other choice but to turn to the online platform to socialize with their friends and hang out. to entertain. This translates to over 7-8 hours of screen time per day and digital eye strain.

Commonly reported symptoms in children with digital eye strain are eye strain, eye discomfort, headache, dry eyes, blurred vision, and tearing. Extending close work and reducing time spent outdoors has also resulted in a new onset of myopia (myopia) and a more rapid progression of myopia in young children.

As schools choose to adopt a hybrid model for child safety, screen time will continue to affect student eye health. Therefore, to minimize the negative effects of increased screen time, it is important to take steps to manage eye strain at home.

As a first step, assess your child’s virtual study environment and make adjustments if necessary.

1. Eye-to-Screen Distance: Make sure the computer screen is about 1.5 to 2 feet or an arm’s length away from where your child is sitting. Adjust the device so that the top of the screen is at eye level or slightly below. This will ensure that your child does not tilt their neck to view the screen.

2. Adjust the ambient light: The room should be well lit. There shouldn’t be too much difference between screen brightness and room lighting. Advise your child to avoid using electronic gadgets in the dark. Make sure there is no glare on the screen due to light reflecting from a window or light source into the room.

3. Adjust the screen brightness: Parents should make sure that the screen brightness is optimal (not brighter or darker than the surroundings) and increase the contrast for better viewing. It will also avoid unnecessary efforts.

4. Increase the font size: Instead of focusing on the focus when the font size or object is not visible, it is advisable to zoom in on the page and read it.

5. Use the color settings: The blue light emitted by the screen may interfere with your child’s sleep, especially when the device is used near bedtime. Decreasing screen time at night and setting devices to night mode can help avoid sleep disturbances.

6. Bigger screens are better: For online lessons, use laptops or desktops as much as possible instead of smartphones. For entertainment, watching on a TV screen or streaming from smartphone to TV is a better option to avoid eye strain.

Adopting good eye habits and eye exercises can also prevent eye strain.

1. Do not watch the screen continuously; Follow the 20-20-20 rule: our eye muscles relax when we look at distant objects and work hard to focus at close range when we work continuously on a screen. So, it will be helpful to remind your child to take a 20 second break every 20 minutes when using screens. They can close their eyes for 20 seconds or look out the window at a distance of 20 feet or more. Frequent short breaks will help prevent eye strain.

2. Remember to blink when using devices: blinking keeps the eye surface lubricated by tears. However, we tend to blink half as often when using screens. This can make the eyes dry, heavy, tired, itchy, or irritated. Consciously remembering to blink can prevent dryness and irritation of the eyes. Lubricating eye drops can provide relief and can be used when needed as advised by your eye doctor.

3. Ensure an off-screen activity: spend time away from the screen after online lessons to give the eyes enough rest. Get kids involved in activities like gardening, biking, indoor play, etc.

4. Regular eye checks are essential to detect if there is an eye number and a need for glasses. Wearing corrective glasses helps prevent eye strain.

Adopting good eye habits and eye exercises can also prevent eye strain.

1. Do not watch the screen continuously; Follow the 20-20-20 rule: our eye muscles relax when we look at distant objects and work hard to focus at close range when we work continuously on a screen. So, it will be helpful to remind your child to take a 20 second break every 20 minutes when using screens. They can close their eyes for 20 seconds or look out the window at a distance of 20 feet or more. Frequent short breaks will help prevent eye strain.

2. Remember to blink when using devices: blinking keeps the eye surface lubricated by tears. However, we tend to blink half as often when using screens. This can make the eyes dry, heavy, tired, itchy, or irritated. Consciously remembering to blink can prevent dryness and irritation of the eyes. Lubricating eye drops can provide relief and can be used when needed as advised by your eye doctor.

3. Ensure an off-screen activity: spend time away from the screen after online lessons to give the eyes enough rest. Get kids involved in activities like gardening, biking, indoor play, etc.

4. Regular eye checks are essential to detect if there is an eye number and a need for glasses. Wearing corrective glasses helps prevent eye strain.

While it is recommended to avoid prolonged eye exposure to screens, however, when it becomes unavoidable, the best thing to do is fix the environment and use your devices intelligently to minimize stress and ill effects. time spent in front of a screen. Following the steps above can help minimize eye strain in children when using screens. Healthy eating, hydration, and adequate rest are essential for overall good health, including eye health.

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