Children today spend more time working and playing on computers than any generation before. On average, teenagers spend approximately 17 – 20 hours a week online. Here are some simple steps parents and children can take to prevent computer eye strain:
Recommendations to Prevent Computer Eye Strain:
Get Regular Eye Exams:
Children should get their first eye exam at six months, again at three years, before entering the first grade and every two years thereafter.
Doctors recommend that every 20 minutes children should take a break from looking at their computer screen and focus on an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. They should also take a 10-minute break every hour.
Lower the Lighting:
Bright lights make it harder for your child to read and concentrate on information on a computer screen. Eye experts recommend that the lighting be about half that of a typical room light when using a computer. Also, position the computer screen in a way that reduces reflections and glare from windows or overhead lights.
Position the Computer:
The computer screen should be placed at a 10 to 15-degree angle below eye level, assuming your child is sitting straight up and looking straight ahead. Children often use computers set up for adult eye levels. Ideally, a child would have their own desk for their size. The computer screen should also sit 20-24 inches away from their eyes.
Limit Electronic Device Use:
Set time limits on the amount of screen time. Monitor behavior to know which apps and games your child has access to to ensure it’s age-appropriate. Children under two years should have no screen time, and older children should have less than two hours per day. Watch for eye strain symptoms such as squinting, rubbing of the eyes and complaints of back, neck, or head pain.
Be Sure to Blink:
The average human being blinks 20 times a minute – but only seven times a minute when using a computer. The longer your eye remains open between blinks, the more likely it is to burn or ache. Blink often to keep your eyes moist.
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