JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Schools systems across the Tri-Cities region are implementing virtual learning because of COVID-19, but how is that affecting the health of students?
News Channel 11’s Pheben Kassahun spoke with Washington County, Tennessee Schools officials about how they plan to reduce eye fatigue in young students.
Washington County, Tennessee Schools officials are working on a document that will provide education for students working remotely for an extended period of time in a given day. This is to prevent learning efficiency to drop, due to eye strains.
Electronics are part of our everyday lives, and more so now than ever because of the coronavirus.
“We understand that going virtually, students will be on their devices a little bit more than they usually are and that can increase the opportunity to have some eye fatigue or some eye strain,” Washington County Schools Director of Coordinated School Health Kelly Wagner said.
Kelly Wagner, RN BSN, with Washington County Schools told Kassahun teachers and students were made aware to not to be on their virtual learning devices for hours on end to prevent eye irritation.
“We do want to encourage physical activity as well as mental activity,” Wagner said.
According to a 2019 research published in the Review of Optometry, 40% to 60% of people experience visual ocular symptoms while viewing electronic displays for a long period of time.
Wagner said, “You want to make certain that the screen is not any brighter than the room you’re in. You also want to decrease the glare. There are anti-glare screens. You can also not have your computer screen near a window, and if you are just close the blinds.”
“Every 20 minutes, you should look away at 20 feet, for 20 seconds. That allows the system to completely relax, allows your blinking to come back, to re-moisten your eyes, to keep you from getting so dry,” Family Eye Care Center of Johnson City Optometrist Dr. Dana Grist said.
Grist said prolonged periods of looking at a LED screen can effect school work.
When your eyes are that tired, or that strained, your comprehensions are going to go down, so the learning process itself is going to be affected,” Grist said.
Experts suggest parents have their child omit electronic devices at least 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime to prevent a delay in the body’s internal clock.