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Back to School: Protecting children’s vision in the digital world

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Computers, tablets, cell phones, gaming systems are the way of life especially during COVID-19.

From Zoom meetings, webinars, and online courses; we are bombarded by blue light emitting from digital screens.  As a result, digital eye strain can cause headaches, dry eyes, redness, and blurred vision in children.  Neck, back, and shoulder pain due to poor posture and less than optimal screen position can be an issue as well.  Roughly 28 percent of people spend 10 or more hours a day on digital devices, 65 percent spend 3-9 hours a day.  Here are steps to combat digital eye strain:

●       Get your back to school eye exam to determine if you need a prescription to see clearly on digital devices. 

●       Wear computer-specific lenses with antireflective coating while working on the computer.  We offer blue light blocking lenses to protect your eyes from migraines, eye strain, fatigue, and insomnia. 

●       Practice good posture and workspace layout. Make sure your laptop or computer screen is at least arms length away. 

●       Blink! Digital device use cuts down blink frequency by 50 percent which leads to dry eyes.  Take frequent breaks from digital devices.  Use the 20/2/20 rule.  Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 or more feet away for at least 20 seconds.  

●       Don’t forget about HEV (blue) light from digital devices.  HEV light has beneficial qualities, but can also contribute to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration if left unchecked.  Blue light filter coatings and tinted lenses are available to cut down on the amount of HEV light entering your eyes.  

●       Dim the background of your digital device, consider switching from white to a cool-gray background, and purchase glare-reduction filters.  Many computers and digital devices have a blue light blocking mode to reduce the amount of blue light reaching the eyes. 

●       Cut back on your screen time.  Get outdoor activity for 2 hours a day away from your digital device. If you notice any changes to your vision or eye health, do not hesitate to see your eye doctor. 


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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