EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – There’s no doubt about it, kids today spend a lot of time looking at screens. However, as school goes back in session, experts say it’s important for kids to take frequent breaks to prevent eye strain.
Dr. Vinh Tran, an optometrist, said eye strain – or asthenopia – can damage a child’s developing eyes.
“These aren’t natural ways of using our eyes and our bodies try to accommodate as much as possible. the more we become dependent on these technologies the more straining it is to your eyes,” Tran said. “Astinopia has many different signs and symptoms. Headaches, sometimes even neck strain. Difficulties with focusing, where words kind of float around. So, straining the eyes when they’re still developing can cause a lot of complications in the future.”
Tran said blue light from screens may also cause complications.
“Based on studies, it’s becoming more apparent that blue light can affect the development of our eyes and is also a huge factor in the development of diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration,” he said.
Tran said it’s important to encourage kids to take frequent breaks from screens.
“We like to say the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes that you spend up close with your computer, tablet, reading, writing – look far away for 20 seconds at a distance of 20 feet. Break a couple times. That helps relax some of the vision and then continue on with your work.”
Dr. Tran said it’s also important to remind your kids to blink often. That will help with dry or itchy eyes.