How to reduce eye strain in kids when learning remotely

November 24, 2020
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    More and more children are suffering from another side effect from the COVID-19 pandemic — eye strain.

    Dr. Kathryn Colby from the Department of Ophthalmology at NYU Langone Health said if your child is participating in remote learning and staring at a computer screen all day, blinking is key.

    "When you're concentrating on a screen it's natural to not blink as frequently and that can lead to some discomfort," Colby said. "We do encourage people to be aware of that and blink kind of consciously."

    Colby recommends that after 20 minutes of screen time, parents have their child look away for 20 seconds.

    "It's what we call a 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes you should take a 20 second break and look off 20 feet in the distance," Colby said. "It just helps give your eyes a little of a break."

    WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reports that some parents have also said their children are complaining that they are not seeing properly through the plexiglass desk shields in classrooms.

    Colby said that could be because of sun glare from a nearby window and parents should ask the teacher to move the child's desk.

    Also make sure that if the child wears glasses that they are clean to prevent any issues.

    "For children who wear glasses, so they're not only looking through their glasses, but also through the plexiglass, it's important to make sure that both surfaces are clean," Colby said.

    As for so-called "blue light" glasses being advertised as helping with eye strain, Colby says don't bother buying them because they don't work.

    She also does not recommend splashing your face with water.

    "We don't recommend that people put water in their eyes, there's actually some pretty severe infections that can occur from water exposure," Colby said.

    These tips, of course, also apply to adults who may be spending more time in front of a computer screen as they continue to work from home.

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