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Eye on health: Small adjustments can help to make significant differences

FOR YOUR HEALTH — Optometrists said that individuals’ working on a computer should take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something at least 20 feet away.
SPRINGVILLE — Teachers at schools around the country are increasingly incorporating 3-D imaging, digital devices and computer applications into their teaching methods.

According to the American Optometric Association’s latest American Eye-Q survey, 60 percent of parents estimate that their children spend up to four hours per day looking at the screen of a computer, video game, MP3 player or handheld electronic device.

Prolonged use of these technologies can cause eyestrain, headaches, fatigue, burning or tired eyes, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. The AOA called this condition “computer vision syndrome.”

Parents and teachers can help students avoid CVS by encouraging them to follow the 20-20-20 rule. When using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and look at something at least 20 feet away.

Studies have shown that people need to rest their eyes to keep them moist. Staring off into the distance also helps the eyes from locking into a close-up position.

Additional ways to reduce CVS include:

– Positioning the computer monitor or handheld device slightly below eye level. Ideally, a screen should be 15 – 20 degrees below eye level, or 4 – 5 inches, as measured from the center of the screen and 20 – 28 inches from the eyes.

– Avoiding screen glare, particularly from overhead lighting or windows.

–Blinking frequently to keep the front surface of the eye moist.

– Seeing a doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye examination prior to or early in each school year, to ensure that eyes are healthy and functioning properly. Early detection and treatment may help to correct vision problems and allow students to see clearly.

To find a nearby optometrist and for more information, visit www.aoa.org.
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