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Back to School: Back to Eye Strain

As adults, most of us spend hours on end staring at a computer, which in turn can lead to eye strain. Most of us know how to cope, but children, who are spending more and more time in front of a computer, now (especially since they're back at school) too, may not know how to cope.


The American Optometric Association offers these tips on keeping your children's eyes healthy.

  • An adult computer workstation may not be suited for a child. Invest in a chair that can be adjusted for the child's height. The recommended distance between the monitor and the eye for children is between 18 and 28 inches.
  • Check for sources of glare by sitting in front of the computer. Windows or other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of the monitor. Holding a small mirror flat against the screen can help pinpoint light sources that are reflecting from above or behind.
  • Children should take at least a 20-second break for every 20 minutes of computer time.
  • Take your children for an annual eye exam and discuss computer use with their eye doctor.
  • Keep your eyes open for signs of eye strain in children, including eye redness, rubbing their eyes, head turns, complaints of blurriness or eye fatigue, or limited attention to visual tasks.

As always, practice what you preach -- Adults should give their eyes a break from computer use at least ten minutes per hour.

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