Protecting Vision and Eye Health During Screen Time
Did you know that the average American spends more than 11 hours per day in front of a screen? Trusted Source Market Watch People spend most of their waking hours staring at screens. Go to Source 1 With more people working from home and interacting socially online, it is more important than ever that we protect our eye health during screen time. The experts at Presbyopia Life have some tips to help you maintain healthy vision while spending the day in front of a screen.
Protect Children’s Eyes While They Are Learning Remotely
Not only adults are subject to long stretches of screen time, as many children are now using remote learning to get their education at home. Read these tips with the whole family in mind and talk to everyone in your household about steps you can take to create healthy vision habits while working and learning at home.
Tips to Incorporate Into Computer Work or Remote Learning
Optimize Your Device Set Up
If you have started working remotely, you may have spent some time choosing an ergonomic desk and comfortable chair in order to get your work-from-home space as comfortable as your office. You should also pay attention to the distance that your laptop, monitor, or tablet sits from your face. This is important for youngsters who are attending school remotely. The distance between the screen and your or your child’s face should be between 20 and 24 inches. Screens that are closer to the face can cause muscle fatigue and eye strain.
It is widely understood that both adults and children tend to blink less when looking at screens. Trusted Source Optom Vis Sci. Effect of visual display unit use on blink rate and tear stability. Go to Source 2 Set a reminder for both the adults and remote learners in your home to take a 20-20-20 break: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away from your screen for at least 20 seconds. Kids can also benefit from 1 or 2 longer outdoor breaks, which studies show can have a positive impact on their developing eye health. Trusted Source Ophthalmology The Associations between Near Visual Activity and Incident Myopia in Children: A Nationwide 4-Year Follow-up Study Go to Source 3
Be Mindful of Vision Symptoms
Changes in vision are often gradual, so it is important to note any minor changes in eyesight or eye health. If you have little ones at home, they may not be able to communicate vision changes on their own, so stay alert and contact an eye doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Frequent rubbing of the eyes
- Squinting when looking up close or far away
- Moving objects closer or further away in order to see them
- Favoring one eye over the other
- Struggling with tasks that used to be fun or easy, such as reading
Don’t Skip Yearly Eye Exams
Your annual eye exam is important for early detection of vision changes and eye conditions. Children who would normally be in school may be missing out on their annual vision screening, so talk to your pediatrician or family eye doctor about scheduling an appointment for them. If there are any concerns based on vision symptoms or family history, you may consider contacting a pediatric ophthalmologist who specializes in children’s vision and eye health.
Trusted Source American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Screening for Children. Go to Source 4
1 Fottrell Q. “People spend most of their waking hours staring at screens.” Market Watch Available: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/people-are-spending-most-of-their-waking-hours-staring-at-screens-2018-08-01. Accessed October 2, 2020.
2 Patel S, Henderson R, Bradley L, Galloway B, Hunter L. Effect of visual display unit use on blink rate and tear stability. Optom Vis Sci. 1991 Nov;68(11):888-92. doi: 10.1097/00006324-199111000-00010. PMID: 1766652.
3 Ku PW, Steptoe A, Lai YJ, Hu HY, Chu D, Yen YF, Liao Y, Chen LJ. The Associations between Near Visual Activity and Incident Myopia in Children: A Nationwide 4-Year Follow-up Study. Ophthalmology. 2019 Feb;126(2):214-220. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2018.05.010. Epub 2018 Jun 20. PMID: 29934268.
4 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Eye Screening for Children. Available: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/children-eye-screening Accessed September 21, 2020.