More attention is being given to the harmful effects of staring at device screens for prolonged periods of time. According to a recently-published article on the Popular Science Web site, researchers are connecting screen exposure to sleep disruption and eye problems.

“Researchers have connected the high-energy visible light, which emanates from both the sun and your cell phone (and just about every other digital device in our hands and on our bedside tables), to disruptions in the body’s circadian rhythms. And physicians have drawn attention to the relationship between our favorite devices and eye problems, ranging from everyday eye strain to glaucoma to macular degeneration.”

Given children and teens’ pervasive use of technology devices, this research needs to be tracked.

In the meantime, there are specific steps that parents and teachers can take to learn more about the issue and help kids reduce eye strain and damage.

1. Read the research and consult expert advice on screen usage and eye strain: The American Association of Ophthalmology recommends the following:
– stop screen time on devices such as computers and smartphones 2-3 hours before going to bed
– use night mode screen settings on devices
– adapt 20-20-20” rule: “every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds”

2. Change the screen settings on devices: Apple, Samsung and other device makers have a ‘night shift’ or ‘night mode’ setting on their more recent device models which reduces eye strain.

– Directions for Apple products

– Direction for Samsung products 

3. Buy an anti-glare screen shield to protect your eyes from glare and avoid visual fatigue. You can find these on popular eCommerce sites.