Home-schooling and Screen-time: An advisory on Eye-Health

Dr. Mazen Senjab

Consultant Opthalmologist, Ophthalmology

Medcare Eye Centre

There are two major risks of using electronic devices without precautions, especially in children and teenagers. They can cause dryness and eye strain which may lead to development of some permanent visual condition in the future.

Therefore, the following precautions are mandatory:

  • Hours on digital devices: Allow usage of devices only when needed. Due to schools and universities offering e-learning, children have to spend long hours on computers and phones. Compensate this by reducing their use by not indulging in video, phone or computer games.
  • Frequent breaks: Allow your children to take frequent breaks during long hours of use of devices, if possible, for 5 minutes, after every 45 minutes.If that is not possible, apply the 20-20-20 rule.
  • 20-20-20 rule: Try and apply the 20-20-20 rule which is looking at 20 feet for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
  • Children using glasses: To ensure safety of your child’s eyes, ensure that their glasses are cleaned well and are “Anti Blue Ray”.
  • Device use: Ensure that there is at least 40cms of distance between the device and your child’s face.
  • Posture: Let your kid use a desk and sit in the correct position while using a laptop and/or other devices. This keeps the eyes in a healthy position.
  • Blinking habits: Inculcate a habit in your children to blink every 1 minute, voluntarily, as the brain usually forgets to blink while staring at electronic devices for long hours.
  • Moisturizing: In case your child feels a burning sensation in their eyes, use a lubricant eye drop solution to moisturize the cornea at least 4 times a day.

In case of headaches, consult an eye doctor immediately to address any underlying vision hampering conditions.