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Opinion

August 30, 2012

Watch out for CVS

School will be starting next week and each year technology is integrated more and more into the  classroom.

Some view it as a good thing, while others argue that students are becoming too tech-dependent. We  are not going to have that debate here now. Instead, we are going to talk about how using certain  tech  devices can have an effect on students’ eyes. This may be something to which parents and teachers  have not given much thought.

Data from the American Optometric Association’s 2012 American Eye-Q® consumer survey indicate  60 percent of parents estimate their children spend up to four hours per day at home or in school  looking at a computer or digital device screen. With smartboards, tablets and other digital tools being  incorporated into daily school curriculums, the technology has students spending much of their time  learning and socializing in front of a screen. This can pose a number of challenges to the visual system. Many of these issues can be solved with frequent breaks, proper set-up of computer screens  and yearly, comprehensive eye exams by a doctor of optometry.

This is why we are going to share a few tips suggested by the New York State Optometric  Association. According to a media release sent out by the organization, continuous or prolonged use  of technology can lead to computer vision syndrome, which may include eyestrain, headaches, fatigue,  urning or tired eyes, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain.  Preexisting, uncorrected vision problems like farsightedness and astigmatism, difficulty with focusing  or eye coordination can also contribute to discomfort associated with CVS.

The release says parents   and teachers can help students avoid CVS by encouraging children to follow the 20-20-20 rule. When using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes, and view  something 20 feet away. Studies show that people need to rest their eyes to keep them moist. Plus, staring off into the distance helps the eyes from locking into a close-up position.

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