It’s back to school time. Only instead of heading back to school everyone is sitting at their kitchen tables awaiting instruction, on screens. And when not “in school” free time allows for gaming and netflix and online content aka more screens.
It’s been months of time connecting on phones and zoom and screens. And it doesn't look like it will end anytime soon.
So let’s break down what that means for the eyes in your family.
Getting and wearing computer glasses or having some frames retrofitted with blue light blocking lenses can help. (hint: we do these!)
Blue light emitted from devices interferes with the circadian rhythms in your body. This affects how your body regulates itself, and more importantly regulates your ability to fall asleep and get the type of sleep you need to function at your best. (Not sure about you but optimal functioning seems important with the worldwide pandemic we’re living in.)
Digital eye strain can also be mitigated by computer glasses, and if you can implement the 20/20/20 rule (every 20 minutes, looking up 20 feet away, for 20 seconds) your eyes will thank you. We tend to blink less in front of screens which can cause irritation and dry, itchy eyes.
Computer vision syndrome (with a long list of maladies: headaches, dry itchy eyes, blurred vision) can be curbed by taking screen-free breaks and implementing the preventative measures listed above.
For Your Kids:
All the blue light and screen time that applies to you, applies to kiddos.
They are in the middle of growing. Which means they need to work their muscles. There is a reason schools have recess...so kids can move the muscles in their body, and get their wiggles out.
The eye is made of muscles too. Our ability to focus - near and far - are all thanks to ocular muscles. And if kids don’t use these it interferes with their eye’s growth. So how to flex eye muscles?? Get outside. Spending at least an hour a day outdoors forces your kids eyes to work in a different way than in front of a screen. Spending just an extra 40 minutes outdoors can reduce the incidence and severity of nearsightedness (myopia) in kids (as per the American Association of Optometrists )
As for limits...this school year might be tough. Try to find alternative, screen-free ways to entertain kids post school and when you can’t, use the same principles you would for yourself.
Computer glasses for kids (and adults) are highly recommended by Dr. Lawson. You can make use of your HSA or FSA and think of them as one of this year’s back to school must-haves. Once purchased, computer glasses can be used for years, provided the eyes they are meant for don’t require a change in lens prescription. (Which you’ll be on top of preventing anyway by getting those kids outside.)