Updated: Jun 8, 2021
Do you know 70 % of learning happens through most dominant sense, vision? Vision is very important in learning in every human's life and it also plays major role in development of milestones of a child. Vision develops gradually as child grows. It's crucial as what kind of visual stimulation child experiences when visual development happens. As the topic is about online education and child's eye health, we shall look into eye problems faced by children above 3 to 4 yrs of age in this article.
When a child learns from cell phone, laptop or computer,
The child uses more of near vision than distance vision and because of this the child may see intermittant blurring of either distance or near objects. Further, the capacity to fuse the image viewed from each eye as a single image decreases resulting in double vision.
The refractive error of eye increases resulting in higher power and thicker spectacle lenses. Researchers have predicted a sharp increase in prevalence of minus power lens wearers to be 50% in total world population in 2050 due to increased use of gadgets and decreased outdoor activities.
The child may complain of eye strain, headache and etc.
It is not only the eyes those get affected but speaking ability, cognition i.e the understanding power of child decreases. The child may also get sore neck and back because of excessive digital usage.
Let us now see how to protect children's eyes from digital eye strain due to online education and how to achieve a balance between both! As a primary eye care professional I could share simple tricks and tips to be followed to protect your child's eye from digital eye strain!
Follow 20-20-20 rule
While a child learns via online using mobile, laptops, tabs or computers make sure the child takes frequent breaks. It's better to follow 20-20-20- rule i.e., for every 20 min take a break from the gadget look at a distant object at 20 feet distance for 20 sec and blink 20 times voluntarily. For children who can handle themselves, a reminder can be set up in the gadget itself.
The bigger the gadget, lesser will be the strain
It is better to have a smart television than a computer, a computer than a laptop, a laptop than a tab and tab than a mobile phone. You shall also decide on it according to the number of hours the child getting exposed to it. If a kindergarten child just sees a video of 5 min her class teacher made, Smart Television isn't necessary.
Ensure proper visual hygiene
The digital gadget should be place at a distance of arm's length of that child in well illuminated room. The child should not sit with the gadget facing outdoors or windows to avoid reflections. Avoiding glare at gadget's screen will greatly reduce eye strain.
No gadgets while taking breaks
Insisting children not to use any digital gadgets while taking breaks is very important. The break is not just for the brain to relax but for eyes, muscles and etc,. While taking breaks the child shall look at a distant object for eyes to relax, walk a couple of minutes and stretch muscles which has been strained due to same sitting position.
Eat healthy and maintain proper hydration
Feeling at home also relax children and they may feel free not maintaining timely and healthy foods. Children tend to carve more unhealthy foods when at home as parents cannot be strict teachers towards them. Ensuring proper healthy and timely diet with enough hydration itself will boost immunity towards greater extent.
Engage in some sort of physical activity
"All work and no play makes jack a dull boy !"
Yes!! Its very much true as the saying. During the begining of Covid-19 pandemic complete lock down was established by Government. But now many relaxations have been made. We shall not take children to crowded malls and parks, but we shall engage them in some sort of physical exercises at home like playing in terrace, terrace gardenning and etc., as getting Vitamin- D from natural sunlight is equally important for the child.
Its very difficult to balance both family time and work time as many parents would have lost their jobs and many would have not got their salary on time, many of the businesses would have faced difficult environment to thrive. But, its the family which shares your successes and failures. You are the hero and heroine for you child and you set examples for them. Share your success and failure with them. Because, they learn from you! Engage them in age appropriate life skills like peeling baked potatoes to setting the bed right! Of course don't forget the family fun time.
Regular Eye Check ups
To ensure the wellness of eyes or if your child experiences any symptoms of eyestrain, get their eyes checked by an Optometrist immediately. Your optometrist may prescribe spectacles or may advise Vision Therapy to strengthen their eye muscles through eye excercises.