The current COVID-19 pandemic has children learning through digital platforms for up to 7-10 hours a day!
But what can you do when your child complains of headaches or eye strain?
With the dramatic surge of digital device use, eye doctors have been reporting a significant rise in the number of children suffering from blurry vision, headaches, eye strain and focusing difficulties.
Common symptoms from prolonged screen time include:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
These symptoms are not only uncomfortable, but are also closely linked to difficulties in attention and concentration.
As a result, many children complain that “learning is too difficult” or they “can’t sit anymore”. Worse yet, some children adamantly refuse to attend online classes in the morning— causing feelings of frustration and high levels of stress for both the child and their parents.
What can you do to help your child?
This is the number one question asked by parents nowadays.
Schedule an eye exam
The first factor to consider is whether or not your child is suffering from a vision problem.
The only way to answer this question with certainty is to schedule a comprehensive eye exam and functional vision evaluation.
Your eye doctor will assess your child’s vision and visual skills to determine if a vision problem is causing your child’s headaches and eyestrain— and thus their inability to sit through their online classes comfortably.
Spend time outdoors
Unfortunately, it simply doesn’t work to force your child into online learning. They may end up sitting in front of the screen, but won’t gain much from the lesson— especially if they are experiencing symptoms that impact their ability to concentrate.
In the meantime, try to take advantage of the fact that your child is at home and blend learning with fun! Your children learn with you and from you all the time— use this opportunity to teach your children in a more relaxed setting. You may even be able to incorporate what they are learning in class with a fun outdoor activity!
Running around outdoors is great for reducing stress and relaxing the eye muscles.
Studies have proven that taking young children outside is one of the best ways to keep their eyes healthy and reduce their chances of developing myopia.
But don’t forget, the sun’s UV rays are strong, even when the sky is overcast— so pop on a pair of sunglasses and make sure your child has a pair too. Children’s eyes are still developing and are therefore more susceptible to the harmful effects of UV rays.
Most eye doctors supply children’s sunglasses that are good quality, fashionable and affordable— so if you don’t have a pair for your child, be sure to get them the protection they need to keep their eyes as healthy as possible.
Spending time outdoors will not only help your child to come back to class feeling refreshed, but can also help you to regain your strength and energy.
Practice screen time rules
- Follow the 20/20/20 rule – Every 20 minutes, instruct your child to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds, to allow the eyes’ focusing muscles to relax.
- Use a larger screen – A larger screen is generally more comfortable to look at for an extended period of time, as details and text will be seen more clearly.
- Adjust screen settings – Selecting white print on a black background, or adjusting the screen brightness may help your child to see more comfortably.
- Position the screen – Position the screen at least 12 inches away from your child’s eyes.
- Lighting – Be sure that the sun is not shining in your child’s eyes or directly on the screen— this can cause a glare and make it difficult to see clearly.
In wake of the current situation, many families are finding it difficult to cope with the challenges associated with online learning, along with the demands of work and family life— all while trying to instill an overall sense of optimism and reassurance in the home.
If your child struggles with online learning, look into scheduling a visit with your eye doctor to see if a vision problem is affecting their ability to sit through their classes comfortably.
Many children suffer from undetected vision problems that can significantly impact learning and concentration, but can be effectively treated with a program of vision therapy.
Take the first step toward helping your child succeed by scheduling a comprehensive vision evaluation with an eye doctor near you.