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Home » News » Back To School: 3 Ways Your Child Can Avoid Digital Eye Strain | Giddens Optometry

Back To School: 3 Ways Your Child Can Avoid Digital Eye Strain | Giddens Optometry

Teenage boy doing homework in front of a monitor Optometrist near you

Back-to-school often means a lot of screen time, whether your child is writing an essay on a laptop, playing an educational video game or studying with a friend on a cell phone.

Unfortunately, even a few hours of screen time can cause digital eye strain, an increasingly common eye condition among kids and adults who use digital devices.

At Giddens Optometry, we help treat digital eye strain and educate parents on the best ways to prevent the condition altogether.

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome, is a condition that causes eye discomfort and other symptoms caused by screen use.

Typical symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Eye Fatigue
  • Dry and red eyes
  • Burning eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Shoulder and neck pain
  • Headaches

How Your Child Can Prevent Digital Eye Strain

1. Teach Your Child To Take Breaks

When it comes to screen time and eye health, 20 is the magic number.

Every 20 minutes or so, remind your child to shift their gaze to an object that’s at least 20 feet away, for roughly 20 seconds. This will allow their eyes to relax and reset.

2. Have Them Stretch It Out

Hunching over a tablet, phone or computer screen can leave your child feeling stiff and sore. Stretching the muscles of their back, neck, shoulders and eyes can relieve tension and ward off the uncomfortable symptoms of digital eye strain.

To relieve neck tension, ask your child to sit or stand up straight and gently tilt their chin toward their chest, and then gently tilt their head toward their right and left shoulders.

To relieve eye strain, have them sit up straight, look downwards, and roll their eyes toward the sky in one direction, then the other. They can repeat this eye stretch as needed.

3. Practice Good Screen Time Hygiene

Here are some guidelines to stick with when your child is engaging in screen time:

  • Try to position the screen 16-30 inches away from their face, either at or slightly below their eye level.
  • Control the lighting in the room to reduce glare.
  • Monitor how long your child is using a digital device. While it’s hard to give a [generalized] recommendation for daily screen usage limits, ask your pediatrician or eye doctor what makes sense for your child’s eye health and lifestyle.
  • Remind your child to blink their eyes. Children and adults blink significantly less often when staring at a screen. Blinking is crucial for keeping the eyes lubricated, comfortable and clean.
  • Minimize screen usage before bed as much as possible, as the blue light emitted from the device can disrupt your child’s sleep cycle.
  • Bring your child to Giddens Optometry for regular eye exams. This is important for all school-aged children, but especially when they wear glasses or contact lenses.

Pediatric Eye Care in Georgetown

Whether or not your child regularly uses a digital device, keeping their eyes and vision healthy is crucial for their development and academic success.

At Giddens Optometry in Georgetown, we offer top-notch pediatric eye care from routine eye exams to contact lens consultations and more.

Start your child off on the right foot this academic year, and schedule their yearly eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often do children need comprehensive eye exams?

  • A:School-aged children should have their eyes evaluated by a pediatric optometrist every year, or as often as recommended by their eye doctor. Children who complain of vision problems, frequent headaches or struggle to keep up with their peers academically should also be brought in to the optometrist. Keep in mind that vision screenings offered in schools and pediatrician’s offices do not replace the care and experience of an eye doctor, and don’t test for many aspects of eye health and visual functioning.

Q:  Should you invest in blue-blocking glasses for your child?

  • A:Many parents worry about the effects of blue light emissions from digital devices. Research hasn’t found blue light to be damaging to eye health, but it can affect a child’s sleep quality and cause eye strain. Computer glasses, however, may help minimize digital eye strain in some children. Speak with your child’s optometrist about whether computer glasses can help.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Giddens Optometry for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


a3ef93d0 34de 453f b5f4 5ffd895a5f85 (1)A Letter from Dr. Ben Giddens

Hello friends, I have retired!

I had 37 years of good fun in Georgetown and loved the gift of meeting so many warm and friendly people! I am very sorry that I didn’t have the time to chat with everyone about my exact plans, and felt guilty over that at times. It was not an easy task. If anyone wants, or needs to contact me, please send an email to my office and I will reply.

I am 66 years old and still feel like I am in good health. My wife died of cancer in 2021 but I have good friends and family and a fun life. I recently moved back to Toronto which is where I grew up as a teenager. I have an active outdoor life and have many ski trips and travel plans in front of me. Lots of interests and activities to explore with an overriding sense that I am a lucky guy. I am also a grandfather now.

I have always tried to employ staff and optometrists who have a heart. I think that is where the office is at today and I hope it continues. Everyone knows their work, and the heart matters.