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Optometrist Yeshwant Saoji shares eye care tips for students with increased screen time

Yeshwant Saoji

Yeshwant Saoji

Yeshwant Saoji, Consultant Optometrist and Contact lens practitioner at Saoji Vision Care at Dharampeth, Nagpur speaks about various ways to protect eyes from the damage due to excessive usage of computers due to COVID-19 pandemic…

From no mobile in the school, now the school is in the mobile!


Today our screen time has increased due to excessive TV social media engagement, zoom meetings and now online education. Optometrists always advice parents to reduce the screen time for kids especially, but now its on the rise more than ever before. So we do need to get used to the new normal. Lets us understand the steps that we can take.

Eye check ups

Every person with excessive use of computers needs to undergo an eye exam with examination of binocular vision parameters (Eye muscle strength evaluation). Excessive screen time puts additional demand on your eye muscles. And if they are weak to start with, it leads to poor concentration, stress and headaches. This can be easily rectified by few home exercises or in-clinic exercises, if the weakness is very severe. The frequency of the eye exam should be once in six months for children and yearly for adults or as advised by the eye care practitioner.


Computer set up

The screen should be placed such that the top of the screen is at the eye level, brightness should be least with which the vision is comfortable. Place the screen in such a way that unnecessary reflections are eliminated. A direct blow of air should be avoided on eyes, so select an area accordingly. Feet should be resting on the floor, foot rest may be used, angle at the knee should be 90 degree, complete thigh to rest on the chair with an angle of 90 to 110 deg. at the hip, lower back supported, avoid slouching, eyes should look down at the screen without bending the neck, Shoulders relaxed, forearms supported and wrists may be kept on gel pads if too much of typing is required.

Spectacle requirements


If powered glasses are not required, then antireflection zero power glasses are not recommended, but if one is wearing powered spectacles, then good quality antireflection-coated glasses are a must. Special lenses like blue control may be used, though there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that they make a difference. In case blue control is used, make sure lenses don’t cut all of blue rays! If complete blue spectrum is cut then it may affect the sleep cycle. For kids blue control spectacles should be avoided. If required special spectacles to reduce the eyestrain can be made, but they have to be used with caution. It is better to consult an optometrist to see if this is really required.


Precautions to be taken

It is preferred to have a longer working distance than the Harmon distance from the screen. Harmon distance is measured from elbow to the fist. If dryness in the eyes is affecting the studies/work, keep a flat dish of water next to the monitor where the heat is being generated. This will help the water to evaporate and generate moisture. Follow the 20 – 20 ? 20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds preferably beyond 20 feet. If this is not possible then ensure that this is done after the end of every class. Paste a sticker with the word BLINK on the top of your monitor/screen. When we concentrate on the any display our blink rate goes down and comfort is affected. This sticker will help you to keep the eyes moist by reminding you to blink. As online study time has increased, if possible restrict playtime on screen. If possible keep the area near the computer clutter free.

Outdoor play for kids

With studies and work happening on computers, exposure to daylight, which is very crucial for kids, would be much less. Specific time should be allocated for outdoor play and parents should ensure that this is completed. Ideally 90 min of daylight exposure is recommended. This plays an important role in avoiding minus power glasses (Myopia). Outdoor time will also ensure good physical exercise.  

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