Winter is upon us and rainy days can often lead to an increase in screen time. Aside from recreational screen time, screens are a large part of education too. Whether they are watching educational videos online to supplement their learning, participating in school activities and assignments through a digital classroom or you are opting to enroll your children in virtual learning for another year, there is no doubt that computers have become synonymous with learning.
With 80 percent of children’s learning gained through their sight, school-aged students are starting to notice the effects of digital eye strain from a younger age. To help your child see their best this year, here are some tips and techniques parents can do to help reduce digital eye strain for their children.
5 Tips for Reducing Eye Strain
- Schedule regular optometrist check-ups – Even if your child has 20/20 vision, it is important to schedule a regular check-up with an optometrist to help monitor your children’s eyes. Many younger children may not notice or be able to recognize or describe the shifts in their vision. These check-ups will help monitor their vision and reduce any additional strain caused by common vision problems.
- Leave some space between them and the screen – Looking at a screen close-up can increase eye strain. Instead of setting their homework or seating area directly in front of the television or screen, place their devices a safe distance away (approximately 8-10 ft.) to help reduce the strain on their eyes. If there are videos required to view for school, consider casting them to a Smart TV to ensure they can watch them from a larger screen and from further away.
- Invest in blue light lenses – Not only does the blue light emitted from the screen cause eye strain, but it can also affect your sleep schedule due to its effect on your circadian rhythm. Make wearing blue light lenses, like these kid-friendly designs from MESquad Kids, during computer and screen time part of your child’s ritual to help reduce potential damage to the eyes from prolonged exposure to blue light. These lenses can filter out the blue light emitted from their screen, protect their eyes from glare and reduce the potential damage to their retina.
- Pack nutrient-dense lunches – Eating vegetables and fruits high in lutein and zeaxanthin has been found to protect the eyes from free radical damage. If you can, pack an assortment of fruits and vegetables in their lunch to ensure they are getting the vitamins to make their eyes stronger. These nurtrients are in foods commonly eaten by children like corn, avocado, orange peppers, kiwi, grapes, oranges and zucchini, to name a few.
- Spend time outside – It was once thought that screen time was leading to an increase in myopia (nearsightedness) among kids. However, there is now a link to not spending enough time outside that could be to blame. Experts suspect there is something about natural light that is beneficial to eyesight. Plan to incorporate an afterschool walk, park time or when the weather is nice, do homework outdoors to give your child extra outdoor time during their day. Protection from sunlight is also important, so remember to pack a hat and wear ultraviolet (UV) protection like sunglasses beyond the summer months.
@ 180 Optometry & Eyewear
2911 West 4th Avenue. Vancouver, BC
@ 180 Optometry & Eyewear is a full scope clinic that specializes in myopia control. We are focused on the future of little eyes by providing the latest, pain-free myopia
management treatments. Proactive eye care for the whole family is important to us; visit our website to learn more.
West Vancouver 204 – 1555 Marine Dr, 604-922-0413
Squamish 101-40258 Glenalder Pl, 604-892-5055
Powell River 4551 Joyce Ave, 604-485-2513
At Optomeyes, we specialize in eye exams, medical eye care, contact lens fittings, pediatric eye care, sports vision, myopia control and post-concussion care. Our optometrists and ophthalmologist are experts in diagnosing and treating dry eyes, eye allergies and infections, glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.