Banish this health myth: Staring at a television or computer screen will cause permanent eye damage. Dr. Kimberly Yen, assistant professor of ophthalmology at Baylor College of Medicine, puts this falsehood to rest, but explains that prolonged focus on a screen can cause eye strain symptoms.
Yen said that when eyes are focused on an item for a long period of time, whether it’s a computer screen, television or even a book, the blink rate slows.
This can lead to:
- Eyes feeling dry or uncomfortable
- Blurring or double vision
- Developing a headache due to eye strain
Yen said that this problem can impact kids, as schoolwork added to time spent in front of screens (think computers, televisions, tablets and smarts phones) playing games and socializing can give eyes a work out.
“Eyes are like any other part of the body. If you use them a lot they can get tired,” she said.
Don’t let eye strain become an excuse to forego school work. Yen suggests taking short breaks from the screen or reading to relax the focusing muscles in the eye to increase blinking and help sooth eye discomfort.
“Parents should try to distract children away from the computer,” Yen said. “It not only helps rest the eyes, but also increases physical activity which is always good for overall health.”
In front of a computer all day? Give your eyes a break. Follow the 20-20-20 rule.
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