5 Ways Teachers Are Reducing Computer Eye Strain
Just this past week, my wife told me that one of her school’s classrooms will become an entirely iPad-based classroom. I’m sure this is going to be extremely exciting for the kids, but parents and educators need to be aware of how important reducing computer eye strain will be for a new generation.
I recently wrote a post about how one of our doctors has already written a special prescription for his computer eye strain. It’s inevitable that many of these types of issues will continue to occur in the future as we become increasingly dependent on computers.
The key to avoiding vision problems is to practice good visual health, and that includes the items listed here:
- Ensuring classrooms have proper lighting. This is going to take some coordination between the teacher and the administration, but make sure you’ve got the right type of light in your classroom. Natural light is best when using computers, and this tends to be best produced by sunlight or incandescent bulbs. If fluorescents are a must, consider using a fluorescent bulb called Ott-Lite full spectrum lighting.
- Being mindful of your windows. We encourage teachers to have students look out the window and focus on objects in the distance. This relaxes the eyes and helps them refocus. In this sense, windows are good. However, you don’t want to position your screen so there is a great deal of glare directly behind the display. This can lead to eyestrain.
- Using the Harmon distance. We’ve written extensively on how important the Harmon distance is for near work. This is the distance from the center of the middle knuckle to the center of the elbow measured on the outside of the arm. Read this article for more on the Harmon distance.
- Making your iPad a slant board. Most iPads come with a cover that folds together and forms a convenient slant board. This is allows the screen to be viewed at the proper angle. (I’ll be letting the teacher in my wife’s school know how important that little stand is for his students.)
- Taking the kids outside. Teachers love recess just as much as kids, but the outdoors provides more than just exercise. It also allows a student’s eyes to focus and refocus—especially for far away distances. Hopefully your school does not allow electronic equipment on the playground. The outdoors is a great place for a break from computer screens. Make sure students are playing tag, kickball, or some other sport that requires their eyes to focus on something besides near work.
It should be noted that iPads could provide some welcome relief for children with vision problems. Because you can make the size of the text larger on the display, kids may experience less visual fatigue and as a result, be able to work longer.
Keep these advantages in mind as the education world continues to undergo a myriad of changes. Make sure your students are ready to make adjustments and use their eyes wisely. It will be critical for helping them avoid computer eye strain, the new malady of the computer age.
Download a free poster detailing how to avoid computer eye strain (Computer Vision Syndrome).
The Vision Therapy Center has helped over 2,000 people overcome vision problems since 1995, and has Wisconsin vision therapy offices in Brookfield and Madison.