Eyestrain can happen whenever the eyes are used for any length of time in one activity. This activity can be reading or working on the computer. According to the Mayo Clinic eyestrain can present itself by making the eye sore, tired, or even watery. Dry eyes can also be a symptom as well as blurred vision or a sore neck. Generally eye strain is not a serious concern but there are ways to help feel better when it plagues a student.
If a student has need to spend time on the computer or reading for an extended time, help make them aware of some of the signs that their eyes are feeling strained.
When the student has to do close-up work, the lighting needs to be aimed at the work he is doing. They may need a bright light if the work is especially close or if they have reduced vision naturally.
When reading the light should come from behind, so position the light source so that it is behind the child and shines directly on the book. If he is at a desk, make sure the light is in front of the child and that the lamp has a lampshade so the light won’t shine in the eyes.
There are some things to do when the child is having to spend a great deal of time on the computer . Make sure the monitor is right in front of them and at least 20 inches from their eyes. If the print is small encourage him to make the font-size larger instead of getting closer to the screen. The top of the screen should be at or below eye level also. Make sure the monitor is clean by dusting it regularly. Dust can make glare worse.
Some other ways to help prevent eyestrain is to take a break from the computer every 20 minutes. Have the child move away from the computer and look at something that is 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Also encourage the child to stand up and move every hour.
At times when reading or working on the computer, people do not blink as often. Bring this to the child’s attention and remind them to blink as this freshens the eyes.
Another exercise that students can do to help alleviate eye strain is to hold their thumb six inches from their nose. They should then focus on their thumb while they take one deep breath in and out slowly. They should then focus on an object about ten feet away and repeat the breathing. This whole exercise should be repeated about 15 times.
Another way to help relax the neck, head and face muscles is to have the child take a deep breath while their eyes are closed. When he exhales, they should rest his chin on his chest while relaxing the neck and shoulders. As he inhales, he should slowly roll his head to the left, then back, all the while he should keep his shoulders relaxed and still. He should then exhale and roll the head the other way. This whole exercise should be repeated twice.
If the eyestrain will not go away or it becomes worse, make sure to take the child to an eye doctor.