The pandemic has changed many of the ways we function as a society. For example, virtual learning has completely altered the learning style of children, teens, and college students. With the significant increase in screen time, many parents worry their kids will experience lasting vision damage due to the number of hours students are spending online.
While virtual learning doesn’t necessarily result in any long-term vision damage, e-learning is creating vision problems for students, such as digital eye strain, which can be an irritating and sometimes debilitating experience.
How Does E-Learning Affect My Ocular Health?
Digital eye strain is exactly what it sounds like—tired, overworked eyes that have been staring at a screen for too long. E-learning has created more opportunities for students to experience the negative effects of eye strain.
The primary cause behind eye strain is that people simply don’t blink as often while using computers and other digital devices. This leaves your eyes dry and very irritated.
Additionally, when you focus on something for an extended period of time, your vision can start to blur and the muscles around your eyes will tire. This can lead to pretty severe headaches, which of course affects a person’s ability to complete homework and participate in virtual classes.
While it’s easy for adults and teenagers to recognize the symptoms of eye strain, it can be more difficult for children to voice their discomfort.
Here are some tell-tale signs to look for in children:
- Frequent eye rubbing
- Avoidance of online classes or close work
- Frequent blinking
- Build-up or crust on eyelids or lashes
- Complaining of blurry or double vision
If your child is spending lots of time on a computer for e-learning and is displaying any of these symptoms, they are likely experiencing the adverse effects of virtual learning.
How Can I Alleviate Eye Strain?
Thankfully, there are some quick tricks you can employ to ease eye strain.
Use the 20-20-20 rule.
The 20-20-20 rule is an easy way to ease the pain of eye strain on a daily basis. For every 20 minutes of screen time, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eyes a break from staring at a screen up close.
If you have trouble remembering to do this every 20 minutes, set yourself (or your child) a timer.
Try to view laptops at arms’ length, or 18 to 24 inches away from your face.
Don’t use a computer in a dark room.
Try putting devices away between 30 and 60 minutes before bed. Studies have shown that blue light disrupts sleep patterns. It can be hard for teens or college students to follow this rule. So, if you can’t put screens away that far in advance, at least switch your devices to “night mode” in order to reduce the strain on your eyes.
Also, if possible, try to purchase hard-cover books. You can find used textbooks from many online sources including sellbackyourbook.com and thriftbooks.com. Hard-cover books can help students spend less time online reading their e-books.
Long-Term Eye Care
Thankfully, you can practice some of the tips discussed above in order to ease eye strain throughout the week.
However, these quick fixes are just one step in caring for your ocular health.
One of the best and most inexpensive ways to care for your vision long term is with vision insurance. Most insurance plans will completely cover glasses, contacts, and regular eye exams.
If your student is suffering from repeated symptoms of eye strain, you will probably need to schedule an eye examination to see whether your student requires any type of corrective eye wear.
Paying for corrective eye wear or vision exams out of pocket can become very expensive—especially if you have a large household.
Investing in vision insurance now will help ease the financial burden of eye care in the long run and will help you stay on top of your and your family’s ocular health.
Learn About Your Vision Insurance Options
If you are from the Kosciusko area and have questions about vision insurance, set up a time to meet with insurance agent, Michael Suhany. With his years of expertise, he can walk you through various insurance plans and answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact him today and set up an appointment.