A teacher uses a screen in her virtual classroom

With review and feedback from CEENTA Ophthalmologist Payal Patel, MD (Monroe)

Students and teachers alike are spending more time in front of the computer than ever before. As a result, many have reported vision issues. Fortunately, there are ways to make staring at a screen all day easier on your eyes.

How can screens affect my eyes?

Looking at a screen is not the same as looking at paper. The letters on a screen are not as sharp as those in print, and the screen’s glare may pose a problem. Also, the distance we sit from screens is unusual compared to other objects we’re looking at, which means our eyes have to work harder to focus. Improper posture or looking back and forth between a piece of paper and your monitor, can also be an issue. Uncorrected vision can also be an issue. As a result, you may experience issues including eye strain, headaches, dry eye, light sensitivity, and blurred vision.

How do I protect my eyes from strain?

Eye strain is when your eyes become tired after using them intensely for a long time. Headaches, blurred vision, and light sensitivity can all be a result of eye strain. It’s recommended students and teachers alike take regular breaks from their phones and tablets and reduce the risk of eyestrain by following the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes of screen time, they should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Looking out of a window, for example, is a great idea.

How do I protect my eyes from dry eye?

When people stare at fixed objects like screens for a long time, they blink less, and are likely not closing their eyes completely when they do blink. This means the tears coating their eyes evaporate quicker, and that can cause dry eyes. The 20-20-20 rule helps prevent dry eye, and preservative-free artificial tear drops are safe for people over the age of 3.

How do I protect my eyes from blue light?

Payal Patel, MDBlue light does not blind people or cause nearsightedness. While people may hear cautionary tales about blue light from smart devices, you are exposed to more blue light from the sun than from screens. However, too much blue light in a dark room can cause eye strain. Make sure computers are in well-lit rooms, and consider blue-light glasses, which are available for both adults and children at CEENTA.

“I recommend both teachers and students adjust their screen brightness to a dimmer setting, implement brief breaks throughout the day, and use over-the-counter artificial tears to reduce dry eye symptoms,” CEENTA Ophthalmologist Payal Patel, MD, said. “If problems persist or worsen, schedule an exam to ensure your eyes are healthy and allowing you to perform at your best for this new era of virtual schooling.”

How do I make sure my vision is good?

If you want to make sure your prescription and glasses are up to date, schedule an appointment at CEENTA. Our eye doctors will test your vision and give you an updated prescription that you can fill right in one of our on-site optical shops. We want to make sure nobody’s vision is a hindrance to learning.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with Dr. Patel? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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