Published August 26, 2012
While technology is revolutionizing the classroom, health experts warn computers, smartboards and tablets could lead to eye strain and fatigue.
Thirteen-year-old Casey Connelly has firsthand experience with this issue, complaining of tired eyes as her school moves increasingly toward new technology versus old-school utensils like pencil and paper.
“We use computers a lot for typing, and we are getting iPads in the eighth grade, and that will hold our text books, so we'll be doing a lot of work on those,” Casey said.
Casey’s condition, known as computer vision syndrome, consists of a whole host of symptoms related to computer use – including eye strain, blurred vision, headaches, loss of focus, loss of attention, neck pain and double vision, according to Dr. Andrea Thau of the American Optometric Association.
“When we look at a computer screen, it presents a unique visual demand on the eyes because they are looking at something up close and not in 3-D,” Thau told FoxNews.com. “It's flat and it's glowing, and it tricks the eye into thinking something is closer than it is… it often sets up an imbalance between eye coordination and focusing.”
To prevent vision problems, Thau recommends a few easy steps, such as taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes and keeping the computer screen four to five inches below eye level.
“Don't forget to blink,” Thau added. “People stare when they are looking at computers, and blinking is really important to restore the tear film.”
Most importantly, she said every child should have a comprehensive eye exam at the beginning of the school year.