The biggest challenge of the last year to maintaining healthy vision has been digital eye strain. With kids being forced to switch from in-person to digitally based distance learning because of the pandemic, the number of hours per week they spend staring at computer screens has increased exponentially.
Some recent studies have shown an increase in myopia due to the increased screen time this past year. Many purchased blue light glasses for protection, though blue light from screens is not harmful to the eyes. The levels are too low to do that.
What kids who struggle to see really need is a comprehensive eye exam. In addition to that, we suggest the following tips for kids to keep their eyes healthy:
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Load up on different types of fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens. Fish like salmon, tuna, and halibut have been shown to help your eyes, too.
- Speak up about vision changes. Is your vision blurry? Do you squint a lot? Ever have trouble seeing things at school? Tell a parent or teacher if your eyes are bothering you or if you notice any changes in your vision.
- Wear glasses if prescribed. Your glasses help you see better, especially when they’re clean and free of smudges. Talk to an adult about how to clean your glasses and how to store them when you’re not wearing them.
- Wear sunglasses. Harmful blue light that can damage the eyes comes from the sun. Wear proper UV protection when they are outside. Choose sunglasses that block 99% or 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation from the sun. And remember, never look directly at the sun.
- Give your eyes a break. Staring at any one thing for too long can tire your eyes. Give your eyes a rest with the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
For more information, visit the National Eye Institute.
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