LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The first week of full-time distance education is in the books for Clark County School District, but some students are noticing a physical side effect from the additional screen time.
Amy Moore watches her son Brody attend his third grade CCSD classes online, but soon noticed a distressing side effect from the extended screen time.
“He’s on study from 8 a.m. until 2 in the afternoon with a quick lunch break,” Moore said. “He cries in the afternoon, he’s got such a bad headache by the end of the day.”
This is possibly the result of digital eyestrain — a growing concern among other parents in the valley during distance education.
Dr. Naomie Warner is a pediatric ophthalmologist. She says screen time is a risk to eyes.
“Just within the first week I’d say there’s been an uptick of 20 percent of visits just for digital eyestrain, excess blinking, eye rubbing, headaches, that type of thing,” Dr. Warner said. “From the stand point of possibly inducing near sidedness or causing you to need glasses sooner rather than later.”
To prevent negative side effects from screen time, warner recommends children getting outside for an hour or two.
Also, follow the “20-20 -20” rule.
“Every 20 minutes you’re on a screen you should take about a 20 second break, look somewhere far away like 20 feet away,” Dr. Warner said. “Blink your eyes a few times, refresh everything and then come right back to it.”
As for glasses that block blue light, she calls them the “buzzword” these days.
“It doesn’t hurt to try it but I don’t recommend them right now because I don’t think, there’s no good research behind it, stating yeah, they’re going to help prevent headaches or eyestrain or things like that,” Dr. Warner said.
“We ordered some blue light blocking glasses and we’re hoping that helps,” Moore said.
Dehydration and lack of sleep can also cause headaches, but it’s encouraged children get eye exams if they’re having any eye troubles or side effects from the additional screen time.