Stop Digital Eye Strain in the Virtual Classroom

A young girl is sitting at her laptop

With the increase in the use of electronics, from parents working from home to their children having attended some form of online school by now, it’s time to get serious about eye health. How can parents help their children prevent eye strain during online classes?  

What is digital eye strain?

Also known as computer vision syndrome, digital eye strain can affect everyone who uses any type of electronic device, such as computers, TVs, smartphones, tablets, 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  

How to take care of eyes during online classes

But 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. There are also a lot of ways you can help your student take care of their eyes during online classes. Check out these three steps on how to take care of eyes during online classes. 

3 Steps on How to Reduce Eye Strain During Online Classes

1. Evaluate your student’s virtual learning environment and make any necessary adjustments, such as:

  • Keeping the room’s lighting dimmer than the computer screen to reduce glare and avoid using devices outdoors. 
  • Turning down the brightness and turn up the contrast of the screen settings.
  • Checking the distance between the screen and your student’s eyes. It should be between 20" and 30" away. 
  • Adjusting the screen so that there’s no tilt and position it so the top is just below eye level. 
  • Making sure the computer screen is set at a high resolution. 
  • Downloading an app that adjusts the color settings if your student ever does any schoolwork or web browsing during the evening. The blue light wavelengths emitted by digital screens stimulate melatonin production, which can interfere with sleep if you use the computer too close to bedtime. For laptops and desktop computers, f.lux will automatically adjust the color settings to reduce the blue wavelengths. It also has a mobile app for Apple devices, while Android has similar apps such as Twilight and EasyEyes

2. Form good eye safety habits, including: 

  • Breaking up the day with an eye-friendly school schedule that includes off-screen activities, such as reading, exercising, or eating lunch. 
  • Setting time limits for recreational use of digital devices to give eyes an extended break.  
  • Following the 20-20-20 rule: 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.
  • Zooming 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. 
  • Cleaning the computer screen at least once a week to keep it free of dust.  

3. Look Into Blue Light Glasses

While there is no evidence that blue light can cause permanent eye damage, reducing your child’s exposure can help them take care of their eyes while studying online. Your online school student may go without blue light glasses, but they can help reduce eye strain during online classes as an act of caution. If your child showcases 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.  

Make vision screenings part of your 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 today.  

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