Stop Digital Eye Strain in the Virtual Classroom

3 min to read
A young girl is sitting at her laptop using blue light glasses

From the rise in remote work to many kids spending their day attending online classes, the use of electronics is ever-increasing. With so much screentime during the day, it’s time to get serious about eye health, especially for online school students. But when students have to attend class through a screen, how can parents help their children prevent digital eye strain?   

What is digital eye strain?

Also known as computer vision syndrome, digital eye strain can affect anyone who uses any type of electronic device, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs, and gaming systems. In today’s digital climate, it only takes a couple hours of continuous use of electronics to experience it. 

Common symptoms include: 

  • Tired, dry eyes
  • Blurry vision  
  • Headaches 
  • Neck aches  
  • Worsened nearsightedness

How to relieve eye strain during online classes

True virtual students—like the ones at Connections Academy—don’t spend all day on the computer. They have time to read, do learning activities, take breaks, and get involved in extracurriculars. But for time spent in front of screens, there are many ways to help prevent online school eye strain. 

Evaluate your student’s virtual learning environment and make any necessary adjustments:

  • Keep the room’s lighting dimmer than the computer screen to reduce glare and avoid using devices outdoors. 
  • Turn down the brightness and turn up the contrast of the screen settings during digital school screentime.
  • Check the distance between the screen and your student’s eyes. It should be between 20 and 30 inches away from their face.
  • Adjust the screen so that there’s no tilt and position it so the top is just below eye level. 
  • Make sure the computer screen is set at a high resolution. 

If your student does any schoolwork or web browsing during the evening, adjust the color settings on their device. For example, you can turn the settings to dark mode to emit less blue light. The blue light wavelengths emitted by digital screens stimulate melatonin production, which can interfere with sleep when using screens too close to bedtime.

2. Form healthy eye safety habits:

  • Break up the day with an eye-friendly school schedule that includes off-screen activities such as reading, exercising, or hands-on learning to avoid online school eye strain.
  • If your child is wondering, “How do I give my eyes a break?” teach them the 20-20-20 rule. The American Optical Association recommends: Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds at something 20 feet away. If you have trouble remembering to take a break, apps such as eyeCare or Workrave  will remind you with automatic alerts. 
  • Zoom in when the text is too small. On the web, you can do this by adjusting the settings of your web browser or by using the browser’s shortcut keys. 
  • Clean your computer screens at least once a week to keep them free of dust that may affect your ability to see clearly.

3. Try blue light glasses

While there is no evidence that blue light can cause permanent eye damage, reducing your child’s exposure to blue light can help them as an act of caution. If your child shows signs such as blurry vision or headaches after playing video games or working on the computer for too long, blue light glasses may be an option to consider for relieving online school eye strain.

4. Schedule regular vision screenings

Make vision screenings part of your family’s regular healthcare routine. Check with your child’s doctor to see how often they should be screened, and if any of our recommendations are right for your family.  

With over 20 years of experience, learn more about online school success tips from Connections Academy.

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