WHEN WEATHER KEEPS YOU INSIDE: PREVENTING EYE STRAIN
Because of changes in temperature and light, (not to mention the extreme weather much of the country has recently experienced), many of us have been spending even more time indoors than usual. Children and teens on the spectrum spend more solitary time on electronic devices than their peers and often use more defined lighting preferences related to their personal sensitivity.
Our Network members also spend more and more time on daily communication and education tasks. In addition, individuals with visual impairments often use magnification screens and contrast adaptations to read their school texts and other readings. Deaf and hearing impaired individuals also have access to numerous online texts as well as closed-captioned and signing videos.
While we are all addicted to our devices to a certain extent, it is important to take precautions to prevent the countless hours of TV/iPad/Kindle/computer monitor watching from taking a toll on our vision. Below are a few tips to help prevent eye strain (which can lead to headaches, which of course, affects mood):
Follow the 20/20 rule
Ophthalmologists recommend taking at the bare minimum a 20-second break every 20 minutes. The break can be looking out the window; turning your head and focusing at a point on the wall or on objects around the room; or simply closing your eyes for 20 seconds (which has the added bonus of providing a modicum of relaxation). The point is to cease the straight-ahead focus on the screen because eye muscles fixed in one position may lead to eye fatigue, frequent headaches, and temporary blurred vision.
Make sure there is adequate light. Too much or too little light may contribute to eye strain. Using curtains or blinds to limit the brightness of the sun and avoiding sitting directly under fluorescent lighting are two simple ways to avoid headaches and eye strain caused by excessive light. On the flip side, not enough light reduces contrast, which makes it harder for the eyes to distinguish between different images and can also lead to eye strain.
Reduce glare. Glare is a leading cause of eye strain, and it can be reduced by purchasing an anti-glare screen for your computer monitor. Limiting bright light from outside is another efficient way to reduce glare.
Adjust the "blue" color on computer monitors.
Monitors have controls that enable you to control the color balance. Blue light is a shorter wavelength light that is associated with eye strain as compared to the longer color wavelengths of oranges and reds.
Make sure you are at the proper distance from the electronic device. Your computer monitor or hand-held device should be at a comfortable distance: 18 to 30 inches is generally recommended for computer monitors; 15-17 inches for an iPad, and 12 inches for a smartphone.
In conclusion, it is important that we all learn ways to avoid eye fatigue, especially children who are starting at a relatively young age. Time to move your eyes!
-- Computer Vision Syndrome
-- Computer Use and Eye Strain