India/ 24 September 2020/ Source/ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/
Increased screen time
Screen-based instruction is a reality for hundreds of thousands of students until schools re-open. In addition to access issues caused by the digital divide, families must also grapple with what an increased use of devices may mean for their children’s wellbeing, including their vision. More time in front of screens, whether for school or for fun and connectivity, can result in eye strain, fatigue and headaches, but experts offer simple ways to protect their kids’ eyes during a time when screens are a bigger part of everyday life.
Keep a safe distance
“With reading in general, we used to read at 16 inches” away from the eyes, according to Dr Millicent Knight, a US-based optometrist and spokesperson for the Global Myopia Awareness Coalition. “Now, what we’re finding, particularly with phones, is that they’re reading at 10 to 12 inches away.” At this distance, the eyes turn in to focus on the screen, as opposed to being relaxed and in the straight-ahead position when looking at something further away, Knight said. Dr Luke Deitz, a paediatric ophthalmologist from Los Angeles, US, recommends keeping digital devices about two feet away and at eye level, “or even preferably somewhat below to avoid them having to look up at the screen.” Having a screen closer than this requires our eyes to focus harder in order to keep the image sharp, which can cause strain and potentially worsen myopia, he said.
Take regular breaks
Knight advises parents and caregivers to follow the 20/20/20 Rule: “Every 20 minutes you need to look up at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.” This gives eyes a break and are turn to their natural position. Also taking breaks is better than depending on things like blue – light-blocking glasses that are being marketed to parents as a way to reduce eye strain and fatigue.
Watch for signs of vision issues
Headaches, excessive blinking, eye rubbing and a child feeling tired or cranky are potential warning signs that they are having vision trouble. Though children’s eyes don’t tend to dry out as much as adult eyes, it’s important for caregivers to take note of whether the child is blinking regularly when looking at a screen.
Don’t skip vision screenings
Vision screenings are essential to identifying potential issues with children’s eyesight and shouldn’t be put off just because of the pandemic.