Visual Demands Students Face in the Classroom
Continuous or prolonged use of technology can lead to computer vision syndrome (CVS), which may include eye strain, headaches, fatigue, burning or tired eyes, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. Pre-existing, uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, difficulty with focusing or eye coordination can also contribute to discomfort associated with computer vision syndrome.
Parents and teachers can help students avoid CVS by encouraging them to follow the 20-20-20 rule. When using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes, and view something 20 feet away. Studies show that people need to rest their eyes to keep them moist. Plus, staring off into the distance helps the eyes from locking into a close-up position.
Guidelines that can help prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with computer vision syndrome:
- Check the height and arrangement of the computer. According to optometrists, a computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees below eye level (about 4 or 5 inches) as measured from the center of the screen and held 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes.
- Check for glare on the computer screen. If possible, windows or other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of the monitor. If this happens turn the desk or computer to prevent glare on the screen.
- Reduce the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen. A lower-wattage light can be substituted for a bright overhead light or a dimmer switch may be installed to give flexible control of room lighting.
- Keep blinking. To minimize the chances of developing dry eye when using a computer or digital device, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of the eye moist.
Most importantly, as part of the yearly, back-to-school checklist, students should see a doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye examination to ensure their eyes are healthy and functioning properly.