Eye doctor gives tips on how to prevent eye strain while learning online

Digital eye strain has become a bigger problem for kids because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Digital eye strain has become a bigger problem for kids because of the coronavirus pandemic.(Source: CNN)
Published: Aug. 22, 2020 at 8:21 AM EDT
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OAKLAND, Maine (WABI) - With many students returning to school virtually, even part-time, children will be spending more time on their screens.

We spoke with an optometrist who has some tips for avoiding eye strain.

Dr. Helen Bell-Necevski of Maine Eye Doctors says you can start by positioning your screen correctly.

She says you want to put it just a tiny bit below eye level as if you're reading a book.

And, make sure your children avoid holding the screens too close to their eyes.

18 to 20 inches is the recommended distance for face to screen.

Second, she says take breaks.

For every 20 minutes that you're on the computer take about 20 seconds to rest and look 20 feet away.

She says this allows the eye muscles that have been working and focusing to relax.

She also says you can use lubricating eye drops and if you are prescribed glasses, make sure you wear them.

“Get outside. Children need to get outside. They need to have that really long distance to look and not be so focused in a room. When you look at a further distance, in some of the newer studies that are coming out, it’s been shown to potentially slow down the progression of nearsightedness in children. So, it’s back to where we were when I was a kid, get outside and play,” said Necevski.

As for blue light glasses, a new reflective technology on the market -- she says there are no studies yet proving their effectiveness.

However, she says many of her patients use them and say they do help reduce fatigue and headaches.

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