Eye Health for students
Below is a summary of best practice for screen use from our local optician:
The majority of people have greatly increased our screen/device use and that’s unfortunately having a negative effect on their eyes.
Increased screen use can cause the following:
1) Dry eyes.
We blink much less when using screens, so we are not producing enough tears to keep our eyes comfortable and moist. Every time you blink with a dry eye it’s like scraping a dry windscreen.
If we keep our eyes moist they will look, feel and perform better.
Dry eyes can feel scratchy, burny, itchy, scaldy or just tired. Dry eyes can also look pink and irritated.
Blinking more frequently can help. When using screens our blink rate falls by up to 80%.
Over the counter preservative free eye drops are fantastic at alleviating dry eyes symptoms. Use them 2-3 times a day and your eyes will thank you.
Drinking more water and increasing omega 3 can also help.
2) Eye fatigue.
Excessive use of our eyes for near visual tasks eg laptops, tablets or phones can tire our eyes. Our eye muscles are not designed to be used for near vision use all day. Using our eyes in the distance is how we rest our eyes so they can recover from the excessive use of our near vision.
An easy way to remember this is the 20/20/20/20 rule: " Every 20 mins, for 20 secs, look at something 20 metres away (out the window) and Blink 20 times, when doing so”
1)When using devices or reading books, hold them farther than 30 cm from your eyes.
2) Use the 20/20/20/20 rule (see above)
3) Be outdoors for min. 60-90 mins a day and leave your phone in your pocket! Only use distance vision (beyond your outstretched arm).
4) Max. 90 mins average of recreational screen use (after school use) - these times can vary depending on the child's age. Younger children should be on screens much less.
These recommendations especially apply if the child is experiencing symptoms eg headaches, eye strain or if the child is already shortsighted.
In general, ALL children, regardless of symptoms, should have an eye exam every two years.