Child eye doc recommends ways to protect eyes during virtual learning

Screen time and back to school

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Getting our kids to spend less time on their devices is a challenge for all parents.

But when screen time becomes school time, where do we draw the line?

We're on your side with important advice, especially when it comes to your kid's eyesight.

Dr. Kathy Weise, Director of Pediatric Optometry Services at UAB, said when we're on our computers, or even reading a book, we don't blink a lot.

So your child's eyes could get dry, which can easily be remedied with over-the-counter artificial tears.

If your child is getting headaches, blurred or double vision, that could be an issue with your child's eye coordination.

Dr. Weise said to make sure your child is reading and working on their computer in a well-lit room, and keep them about two feet from the screen to help minimize strain on their eyes.

"We recommend that kids, every 20 minutes or so, look at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. That's going to give the eyes a break," said Dr. Weise. "I think the benefits of virtual learning and interacting with teachers, even if it's not live, is going to outweigh any theoretical risk that's coming off the computer."

Dr. Weise said whether blue-light blocking glasses help is still unclear.

But in order to cut down on screen time, she suggested parents devote screen time for work and outdoor play or family time for play.

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