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FROM THE NURSE: Prevent Eye Strain
As your child(ren) starts distance learning this week, they will probably be spending many extra screen time hours per day (and per week). I am sure the adults reading this will be working more on devices as well. This can put considerable strain on the eyes. If you or your child has complaints that their eyes feel dry, tired, or vision is blurry by the end of the day this can be signs of eye strain. In addition head, neck, or shoulder aches, can develop with extra time sitting working using digital devices.
Here are a few tips and changes you can make as you get started to help prevent these issues. Of course, limiting your child’s usual recreational tech time beyond distance learning time may also be helpful. Below is some information on eye strain and how to prevent it from WebMD.
Why Do Screens Cause Eye Strain?
Normally, we blink about 15-20 times a minute. That spreads tears evenly over your eyes, which keeps them from getting dry and irritated. But researchers have found that people blink less than half as often when they’re reading, watching, or playing on a screen. Also, the contrast of text against the background, the glare, and flickering from digital screens can be hard on your eyes.
Prevent Digital Eye Strain
No, you don’t have to cut out all screen time. But a few changes to how you use your devices can be easier on your eyes.
- Make sure your computer screen is about 25 inches, or an arm's length, away from your face. The center of the screen should be about 10-15 degrees below eye level.
- Cut glare by using a matte screen filter. You can find them for all types of computers, phones, and tablets.
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
- Take a longer break of about 15 minutes after every 2 hours you spend on your devices.
- Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
- Try putting a humidifier in the room where you most often use a computer or other device.
- Make sure the lighting in the room you’re in is bright enough. You don’t want your device to be brighter than the surroundings.
- If you wear contact lenses, give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.
- Get regular eye exams. You might need to use a different pair of glasses when you’re working on a computer (this one may be difficult at this point in time).
Adjust Your Devices
You can also make sure your devices are set for eye health.
- Raise the contrast on your screen.
- Make text larger.
- Change the brightness of the screen. It shouldn’t be lighter or darker than your surroundings.
- Lower the color temperature of your screen. That means it will give off less blue light, which is linked to more eyestrain.
Handwashing and Healthy Habits
Handwashing lessons and "Cover Your Cough" that included sneezing and coughing into the elbow were taught to decrease spreading germs on our hands. A video was demonstrated to show students the steps to hand washing.
Sowams Students continue to be reminded about ways to stay healthy. These include eating healthy foods from all food groups, and limiting sugary foods and drinks, drinking plenty of water, getting "60 minutes of Play a Day" and getting plenty of sleep (9-12 hours a night is recommended for a school age child 6-12 according to the American Academy of Pediatrics).