Employers are increasingly focusing on the working from home setup for their employees, making sure there is adequate lighting, ventilation, and ergonomic setups to mimic a productive work environment.
This is equally important for kids learning at home.
Too much screen time can have negative consequences to anyone’s eye health, leading to eye strain and muscle fatigue which can lead to bigger eye problems down the track.
What are some common digital eye strain symptoms?
Common symptoms of digital eye strain can include:
Tension in neck and shoulders
Setup for success
To minimise the chance of getting eye strain, part of the secret is in the setup.
Make sure the screen is at least 50cm or arms- length away from the face;
Avoid hand-holding the device, get a case or stand that allows the device to sit on a desk, hands-free;
Setup the device so that you are looking slightly down at the screen rather than directly at it;
Increase the font size;
Ensure adequate lighting in your space. The ambient light and the device screen light should be about the same. For newer devices, they have in-built features that do just this. For example, Apple devices have ‘True Tone’ that uses advanced multichannel sensors to adjust the colour and intensity of your display to match the ambient light so everything seems more natural (some android devices call this ‘Auto brightness’).
Human eyes are not supposed to be glued to a single object for extended periods of time and many eye problems associated with screen time results from the fact that we blink less often when looking at screens.
One easy to implement way is the 20-20-20 rule, that is asking your child to look 20 feet away (6 metres) for 20 seconds, every 20 minutes.
For longer breaks like recess or lunch, make an effort to stay away from the screen. Where possible, spend some time outdoors, even if it’s just in your own backyard or balcony, as some studies have shown adequate outdoor time (at least 20 minutes) is beneficial for your child’s vision.
Eat your way to healthier eyes
A balanced diet is essential to growing kids, but some foods offer extra benefits for the health of their eyes. Now getting them to eat some of these is another article altogether, but let’s imagine a perfect world.
For those interested in what makes these food good, you can read up on it here.
Get their eyes moving
Here are some quick and easy eye exercises you can try at home,
Up and Down – get your child to hold out both hands, one above and one below head level. Moving eyes only, get them to look at each hand 10 times.
Nose to thumb – get your child to hold one hand out with their thumbs up. Using both eyes, ask them to look at the nose, then out to their thumb, do this 10 times.
Eye writing – get your child to draw a number, letter or shape using only their eyes.
We can learn so much just by observing and eyes are our window to the world, so taking good care of them is paramount. Remember though, undertaking annual eye check up is irreplaceable as qualified professionals can often detect and treat problems before noticeable symptoms begin.
Disclaimer: This article is general in nature. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.