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Over the last few months, students have endured an excessive amount of screen time to keep up with their studies while keeping themselves and others safe during the current pandemic. For many students, this increased time staring at a screen has caused an eye condition called “computer vision syndrome” or “digital eye strain.”
At Dry Eye Treatment Centers of NY and NJ we recommend that any student who is learning online should undergo a comprehensive eye exam to ensure that the extra screen time and the additional time spent indoors hasn’t negatively affected their eye health or vision.
Why Are Eye Exams Important?
Eye exams can help ensure that children learn well in school, whether in the classroom or digitally. Up to 80% of a child’s learning is visual, so even a slight vision problem can impair their academic performance. Bringing a child in for an eye exam yearly will help detect and correct visual acuity problems like myopia (nearsightedness), focusing, binocular vision, convergence insufficiency and more.
Studies have found that children who spend more time indoors looking at nearby objects have a faster rate of myopia progression than children who spend time playing in the sunshine.
Additionally, comprehensive eye exams are the only way to detect serious and mild eye health conditions — school vision screenings are not enough. Annual eye exams are even more important for children with a family history of eye health issues.
Annual eye exams are essential for everyone, but especially for those who spend a good portion of their day in front of a screen. Uncorrected visual problems can make symptoms of digital eye strain worse, making eye exams all the more crucial.
How Can Screen Time Impact Eye Health and Vision?
Both children and adults are susceptible to uncomfortable digital eye strain symptoms after prolonged screen use. Some symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Eye fatigue
- Eye pain
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
These symptoms can be caused by a combination of the following factors:
- Poor lighting
- Poor posture
- Undetected vision problems
- Screen brightness
- Glare and reflections on the screen
- Duration of screen use - those who spend 2 or more consecutive hours staring at a screen are at higher risk
Eye Exams Are Important For Young Students
Sometimes, a child may lack the verbal skills to properly communicate that they are having trouble with their vision. With virtual classrooms, children can simply zoom in on their screens if they’re having difficulty seeing clearly, and may not be able to articulate or even be aware that things appear blurry.
An annual checkup, especially at the start of the new school year, is important for students, especially with online learning. At Dry Eye Treatment Centers of NY and NJ, Dr. Alan B. Schlussel sees patients of all ages and provides practical advice on how to maintain eye health with added screen time, and in general.
Don’t put off your child’s annual eye exam — contact us today to schedule an appointment.