Local Wynnum Optometrist, Brian Kim, is encouraging parents in Wynnum to keep their children’s eye health front of mind for when they head back to school.
Research by Specsavers found that nearly 20% of parents or caregivers1, the equivalent of 694 families in Wynnum2, are not seeking professional advice when their child has experienced or complained of an eye issue. This, along with the increased screen time children have experience this year, can be detrimental to their eye health and impact their long-term ability to learn.
Specsavers Wynnum West Optometrist, Brian Kim says:
“The changes we’re seeing in virtual and screen-based learning means children and teens alike are spending more time on their laptops and tablets, so it’s important your child’s vision stays front of mind this school year. If a child complains about headaches, blurred vision or any issues with their eyes, I recommend booking an appointment with an optometrist straight away rather than waiting until their next check-up.”
“I recommend parents in Wynnum take their child for a routine eye test before they begin school and then every two years after that unless otherwise directed by their optometrist. In a children’s eye test, we typically look for signs of refractive error such as long and short-sightedness and astigmatism. We also assess for signs and symptoms of digital eye strain, squinting and other ocular health issues. As children’s eyes are still developing during their schooling years, it’s important to identify any potential issues early so they can be corrected or managed,” says Brian.
Brian’s top 5 tips for children experiencing digital eye strain:
- Remind your child to blink
This keeps the surface of your eyes from drying out.
- Keep a bottle of water next to their computer or learning space
Your eyes dry out when you’re dehydrated so make sure your child is drinking plenty of water throughout the day!
- Follow the “20-20-20” rule
This means every 20 minutes you should remind your child to shift their eyes to look at an object at least 20 metres away, for at least 20 seconds. The easiest way to do this is to take small ‘window’ breaks with your child and ask them to look out at a faraway object to give their eyes a break from their screen.
- Screen adjustments
Adjust the brightness and contrast of your child’s screen to match the level of light around them. Try increasing the contrast on their screen to reduce eye strain.
- Consider their position
Adjust their position at the computer. When using a computer, your child should be sitting no closer than 60cm (about at arm's length) from the screen. Position the screen so their eyes gaze slightly downward, not straight ahead or up.
Specsavers includes an advanced OCT 3D eye scan as part of every eye test – hospital-grade technology that allows optometrists to detect eye conditions earlier. Early detection of most eye conditions can prevent vision loss and blindness and for most people.
Specsavers Wynnum West is open 7 days a week.
1 YouGov, Teen Eye Health – AU, prepared for Specsavers, 9th December 2020. The study was conducted online between 25th November – 5th December 2020, among a sample comprised a nationally representative sample 1,014 Australian parents aged 18 years and older with a child aged 5-17.
2 ABS Quickstats, 2016