This spring Zoom was fun when it was novel and then after a while, Zoom fatigue set in! Staring at a screen is exhausting for adults and kids alike! There’s a lot of mental energy to required to learn through Zoom which is different from face to face learning and then there’s overall tech fatigue.
If you’ve felt tired or experienced sore eyes, headaches, and trouble focusing at any time over the past few months, chances are these symptoms are because of digital eye strain. Digital eye strain is caused by the blue light from screens that enters the eye and is defocused in front of the retina. A short-term effect of blue light is its ability to suppress melatonin production, which can make it difficult to fall asleep.
How can we better encourage cyber wellness? Regulating screen time has always been a way to minimize blue light and reduce digital eye strain but this is hard to do with virtual learning. Instead encourage kids to:
Maintain digital distance from their screen (ideally 18 inches)
Lower screen brightness
Observe the 20/20/20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes a rest.
For more information about blue light and eye strain.
Whether or not you consider yourselves addicted to technology or not, we can all admit that we spend a lot of time looking at screens. From computer screens at work, smartphones that help us stay connected to the people we care about most, and streaming shows on a tablet or using eReaders that are supposed to help us wind down at night, screens are everywhere. They’re also prevalent in our kids’ lives too.
With so much screen time these days, eye doctors are seeing a sharp increase in digital eye strain caused by blue light exposure in both children and adults. Lots of research is being done on blue light, which is emitted from the screens of digital devices, but the truth is that digital devices haven’t been around long enough for us to truly understand the long term effects it may have on our health. The medical and scientific community continues to research blue light’s ability to slow down melatonin production, which can make it hard to fall asleep, as well as the potential long-term cumulative effects of blue light exposure, including possible vision loss.
What is blue light? Blue light is a high-energy range of light within the visible light spectrum. Historically, our exposure to blue light was limited to sunlight. But in today’s world, we are exposed to more and more blue light emitted from our favourite digital devices, such as smartphones, tablets, computer monitors, television, and even compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED lights.
With unprecedented levels of blue light exposure caused by more screen time, children are increasingly dealing with digital eye strain, which causes sore, tired eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and other symptoms. Because blue light is defocused in front of our retina, our eyes have trouble focusing the light, which makes our eyes work overtime to continually try and focus.