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What parents should know to protect children's eyes during remote learning

Posted at 5:32 PM, Sep 14, 2020

As screen time becomes a bigger part of students’ lives, preserving their vision is something to keep an eye on.

Dr. Lauren Schneider, an ophthalmologist who has been treating patients in New York and Connecticut for six years warned screen time can cause a number of symptoms, including squinting and eye-crossing.

“We do know that prolonged near work can place some children at risk for progressive myopia, which is worsening nearsightedness,” Dr. Schneider said.

Doctors say tips on preserving your kids' vision during remote learning include making sure they keep a safe distance from their devices — at least 15 inches away from the screen is recommended — having them take screen breaks every 20 minutes and investing in a blue light blocker, which can be put on devices or glasses.

“Some of our data suggests blue light emitted from our electronic devices may potentially be harmful long term to the center of the retina,” said Schneider Sunday.

As school districts in the tri-state area continue to reopen this fall with full remote or hybrid learning models that include screen-based instruction, eye protection is another safety measure doctors say parents should have their sights on.

“We want to make sure that while our students are hard at work which is going to require a lot of time in front of the computer that we’re avoiding unnecessary eye strain," Schneider said.

According to medical experts, the full long term impacts on the eyes from remote learning are still being looked at, regular eye exams are highly recommended.

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This story was first reported by Jennifer Bisram at PIX11 in New York City, New York.