The average American spends hours a day using the computer, whether it’s working in an office or taking classes at home. With this prolonged screen exposure comes the increased risk of digital eye strain. That’s why taking regular breaks from the computer and making proper adjustments for a comfortable workspace are crucial.
Anyone who regularly works on a computer should take the necessary precautions to protect their eyes, and cyber school students are no exception. Learn about the causes of eye strain, some common symptoms, and how to reduce eye strain during online classes.
What Is Digital Eye Strain and What Causes It?
Digital eye strain — also called computer vision syndrome (CVS) — is a group of eye-related problems that result from frequent screen usage. Electronic devices like computers, cell phones, televisions, and tablets can cause digital eye strain. Compared to reading a printed page, looking at a digital screen requires the eyes to work harder. Generally, letters and words on a screen aren’t as sharply defined or precise.
Additionally, the contrast level of the letters to the background is reduced. Reflections and glare on the screen can make reading and viewing difficult. As a result, the high visual demands and intricate screen characteristics can increase the viewer’s susceptibility to vision-related symptoms.
Here are some additional factors that may cause CVS:
- Poor lighting
- Poor sitting posture
- Uncorrected vision problems
- Ineffective viewing distances
Signs of Eye Strain
CVS can affect online learners in various ways. It’s important to recognize and identify the signs so you can work toward correcting them sooner. Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with digital eye strain:
- Dry or watery eyes
- Reduced concentration
- Double or blurred vision
- Higher sensitivity to light
- Shoulder, back, and neck pain
Four Ways to Reduce Digital Eye Strain for Online Students
It’s vital that online students take sufficient breaks, have the right equipment, and make the necessary workspace adjustments to avoid eye strain. If you’re looking for ways to reduce eye strain from computers and other devices, consider these four helpful tips for your child.
1. Take Regular Breaks From the Screen
To prevent and alleviate CVS, your child should take regular breaks from the computer. Here are some suggestions for building consistent screen breaks into your student’s school day:
- 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, have your student shift their eyes to view an object at least 20 feet away. Watch the object for at least 20 seconds.
- Pomodoro Technique: The Pomodoro Technique suggests working in 25-minute increments throughout the day, each one followed by a five-minute break.
- Hourly break: Encourage your child to get up from the computer every hour for five to 10 minutes.
Your child should use their break time to stretch their arms and legs, walk around, grab a snack or beverage, or go outside for a few minutes. Practicing some deep breathing exercises is another good way to recharge before returning to the computer. Set a regular timer for your child so they know when it’s time to get up and walk away from the screen.
2. Invest in Blue Light Glasses
Blue light from electronic devices can make it difficult to concentrate on the screen, making the eyes work extra hard to focus. That’s why blue light glasses have special filters in their lenses that help absorb or block blue light — and UV light, in some cases — from getting through.
These glasses are designed to increase contrast on the screen, helping to enhance focus and reduce the risk of eye strain. Consider investing in a pair of blue light glasses for your child to use while doing their school work.
3. Adjust Their Learning Environment
If you’re wondering how to make the computer screen eye-friendly, some slight adjustments to the work environment can make a considerable difference. Try out the following methods:
- Adjust the screen brightness: Adjusting the brightness on your child’s laptop or desktop screen may help reduce eye fatigue and strain. Keep in mind that the device shouldn’t be brighter than its surroundings, but an extra dim screen requires the eyes to work harder. Try to find a middle ground between the two. You can also raise the screen’s contrast and lower the color temperature to help reduce blue light.
- Change the font size: Try enlarging the text slightly on your child’s computer. A larger font is easier to read and less work for the eye muscles, thus reducing eye strain.
- Use proper room lighting: A dimly lit area requires your student’s eyes to work harder, so proper room lighting can help prevent eye strain. To ensure the space is bright enough, open the curtains to let in natural light or turn on a lamp. You should also position lamps properly to reduce glare.
- Encourage proper sitting posture: Good sitting posture is also important for limiting eye strain. Position the child’s monitor so it’s even with their forehead, and remind them to keep their feet flat on the floor. They should also sit about 2 feet back from the screen. Proper equipment like an ergonomic office chair, sit-stand desk, and keyboard with a wrist rest can also encourage good posture.
4. Choose a Schedule That Fits Their Health Needs
You’ll want to adjust your child’s class schedule with their health needs. Whether your child wishes to take breaks hourly or follow the Pomodoro Technique, their schedule should accommodate these needs to reduce eye strain as much as possible. Luckily, CCA’s flexible online learning environment enables students to access education at a time and manner that works best for their families and personal schedules.
If your student is experiencing frequent symptoms of eye strain while studying, reading, or taking classes, we strongly recommend trying the above tips and techniques. If their CVS symptoms become more severe, consider talking to an eye doctor.
Learn How CCA’s Flexible Schedule Helps to Reduce Eye Strain
At CCA, we understand the importance of eye safety and strain prevention for students. That’s why our personalized education program and scheduling options encourage regular breaks for students, which can reduce the likelihood of eye strain occurring. Our teachers collaborate with families and students to accommodate their schedules while tailoring the curriculum to their skills, interests, and needs.
While traditional schools often use the same cookie-cutter educational approach, we understand this isn’t the best fit for every student. That’s why we leverage technology for a customized learning experience that engages each child’s unique abilities, works well with their schedule, and prepares them for the future after graduation.
For more information regarding the benefits of CCA’s flexible scheduling and online learning environment, contact us today.