As we are all in lock-down with our families. We are working remotely, and our children are having way more screen time than ever before as school goes online or they are connecting with their friends digitally, taking care of our eyes is so important now. We connected with Execuspecs Optometrist – Wesley Language who shared some tips with us on how to take care of our eyes during this time.
Staring at a screen for long stretches without taking breaks can cause symptoms such as:
- Eye fatigue. Children may also use screen devices where lighting is less than ideal, causing fatigue from squinting.
- Blurry vision. Gazing at the same distance for an extended time can cause the eye’s focusing system to spasm or temporarily “lock up.” This condition, called an accommodation spasm, causes a child’s vision to blur when he or she looks away from the screen. More time playing outside may result in healthier vision development in children.
- Dry eyes. Studies show that people blink significantly less often when concentrating on a digital screen, which can leave eyes dry and irritated.
What Parents Can Do:
- Monitor screen time.
- Sleep. Do not let children play on their screens just before bed time as the blue light from the screen can cause the brain to not be able to shut down properly to sleep.
- Exercise. Get them out into the sun, moving all of their muscles.
- Take frequent breaks. Use the 20/20/20 rule: look away from the screen every 20 minutes, focus on an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. In addition, children should walk away from the screen for at least 10 minutes every hour.
- Remember to blink.
- Screen positioning. Make sure the screen on your child’s desktop or laptop computer is slightly below eye level. Looking up at a screen opens eyes wider and dries them out quicker.
- Spotlight on lighting. The level of lighting in a room when using a computer or other screen should be roughly half what it would be for other activities such as writing on paper or working on crafts. Try to position computers so that light from uncovered windows, lamps and overhead light fixtures aren’t shining directly on screens. Decrease the brightness of the screen to a more comfortable level for viewing.
- Get regular vision screenings.
Protecting young children from eye injuries at home and at play
The most common causes of eye injuries to children are:
- Misuse of toys
- Falls from beds, against furniture, on stairs, and when playing with toys
- Misuse of everyday tools and objects (work and garden tools, knives and forks, pens and pencils)
- Contact with harmful household products (detergents, paints, glues, etc.)
- Automobile accidents.
- Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Provide lights and handrails to improve safety on stairs.
- Pad or cushion sharp corners and edges of furnishing and home fixtures.
- Install cabinet and drawer locks in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Store personal-use items (cosmetics, toiletry products), kitchen utensils, and desk supplies where they are out of reach for children.
- Keep paints, pesticides, fertilizers, and similar products properly stored in a secure area.
- Read all warnings and instructions on toys.
- Avoid toys with sharp or rigid points, shafts, spikes, rods, and dangerous edges.
- Keep toys intended for older children away from younger children.
- Avoid flying toys and projectile-firing toys; these pose a danger to all children, particularly those under five years old.
- Be aware of items in playgrounds and play areas that pose potential eye hazards.
- Keep BB guns away from kids.
- Use occupant restraints such as infant and child safety seats, booster seats, safety belts, and shoulder harnesses in cars if you are going out to a medical appointment (otherwise you should remain off the road)
- Children age 12 and younger should never ride in the front seat – right now with lock-down, if you do have your child in the car they must be in the backseat.
- Store loose items in the trunk or secured on the floor. Any loose object can become dangerous in a crash.
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