Do you remember your parents telling you not to sit too close to the television because it was bad for your eyes? That has now been updated for the digital age.
The Alberta Association of Optometrists commissioned a survey of Alberta parents of children aged 18 and under about digital eye strain and it says the data is concerning.
"We see that they're experiencing headaches, irritability, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, difficulty with dry eyes and actually excessive tearing as well," reported optometrist Rebecca Milkovich at For Sight Vision Centre in Drumheller.
The survey found elementary school aged children spend more than four hours per day using digital devices at home and at school. That rises to nearly eight hours a day for teenagers. The Optometrists Association says eye strain can occur after just two hours of staring at a digital screen.
"We know that in the short term, the relevance in the classroom and how kids are responding can definitely affect their school career, their potential and their involvement in the classroom and ability to learn because 80 per cent of learning is visual," related Milkovich.
The survey found nearly six in ten Alberta parents are not aware of or do not encourage their children to take steps to reduce digital eye strain.
"We are asking them to follow the 20-20-20 rule," noted Milkovich. "Every 20 minutes we want you to look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds, and when we go back to looking at the screen we don't want to hold the screen too close."
If you think you or someone you klnow might have a problem with eye strain, contact your optometrist. For more information on digital eye strain, how to avoid it and how to cope with it, follow this link.