Kids and Computer Eye Strain
On average, teenagers spend approximately 10 – 15 hours a week online.
There has been a
marked increase in the number of children diagnosed with myopia in the past
10 years, and it is suspected that Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is the
cause. Children today spend more time working and playing on
computers than any generation before.
Getting kids to think
about the future of their eye health is especially problematic, because
children are often unrealistic about how their actions today will affect
their health years from now. So with the inundation of technology in our
children's lives, how do we keep their eyes healthy and free from
computer eye strain?
recommend that every 20 minutes your kids 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. This is commonly referred to as the 20/20/20 rule. They should
also take a 10-minute break every hour. There are several free software
programs, such as Eye Defender and Eye Relax, that will turn the screen off
every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and every hour for 10 minutes or at any
interval the parent desires. If you don't want to use software, set up a
timer outside of their door or somewhere that forces them to get up to turn
Position of the computer
To reduce eye strain, the ideal computer screen position is 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 and a
dedicated computer set up specifically for their size; since this is not always
practical, parents should try to find a computer screen with an adjustable
height and make sure the screen is adjusted for each user. Creating reminder
labels or stickers could help everyone remember to adjust the screen
Laptop computers generally sit in laps and can be too close
to the eyes. Ideally a computer screen should sit 20-24 inches away from the
eyes. Because children are smaller, the distance between their laps and their
eyes is also shorter. Encourage children to use a desktop computer or put the
laptop on the desk.
As technology permeates our children's lives and
futures, we need to help them develop good habits today that will last a
The best way to help reduce computer
eye strain is to make sure your child has the right prescription eyeglasses.
Even a small deviation in prescription can cause headaches and eye fatigue.
Studies have shown a direct correlation between proper vision correction and
Eyeglasses made for the correct viewing distance from a computer
and with anti reflective coating will make viewing a computer screen easier on
the eyes and help reduce eye fatigue. If your child already wears eyeglasses,
getting a second pair for computer usage is advisable. Speak to your
optometrist to see if getting "computer glasses" is right for your child.
Lower the lights
Dimmer lights are better for viewing bright computer screens.
People often assume that a computer should be lit at the same lighting levels
that one would use for reading books. This is not the case; computer screens
are best seen in slightly darker surroundings.