• Kids' eyes need special care around computers


    Computers in the classroom are not only an excellent learning tool but have become a necessity.  However, classroom computer use coupled with several hours each day sending e-mails, surfing the Web and playing video games is resulting in frequent cases of blurred vision, sore and dry eyes, fatigue, shoulder pain and headaches - all symptoms of computer vision syndrome (CVS).

    Recent studies also have strongly correlated the increased use of computers by children to the early onset of myopia, or nearsightedness (difficulty focusing on distant objects).  Some tips for alleviating computer vision syndrome are:

    • Child size the workstation - place the computer at an angle of approximately 15 degrees below a child's line of vision, 20-26 inches from his/her face and make sure the child's feet touch the floor.

    • Minimize glare on the computer screen - keep it clean.

    • Use proper lighting - eliminate exterior light and reflections by closing blinds.

    • Take frequent breaks - at least one 10 minute break per hour.

    • Refocus eyes - look away from the computer every 10-15 minutes.

    • Blink often - people blink five times less frequently when using a computer.

    Important facts:

    • Children are more susceptible to computer vision problems than adults due to their immature visual systems

    • 30% of children may be in need of specific eyewear when sitting in front of a computer screen.

    • Excessive, uncontrolled computer use by children has been liked to the risk of early myopia.

    • Vision disorders are the number one handicap in childhood

    • 60% of students identified as "problem learners" have undetected vision problems.

    Signs of an undetected vision problem are: skipping, omitting or rereading words; short attention span; poor handwriting; irritability, stress and/or fatigue.

    Reprinted from: In-Sight Newsletter, Optometric Physicians of Washington, 2003.  E-mail: opw@eyes.org or visit...
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Last Modified on October 16, 2008