ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With many students returning to school virtually this year, pediatricians warn all the screen time could cause children vision problems.

Dr. Samantha Roland with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital said you may notice your child rolling their eyes and blinking excessively when they’ve been staring at the computer for too long.

What You Need To Know

  • Pediatricians concerned with children's eyes with increased virtual learning

  • Dr. Samantha Roland with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital: You may notice your child rolling their eyes and blinking 

  • Main problem is dry eye

She said taking adequate breaks will be key.

Dr. Roland said the main problem is dry eye.

When you, or your child, look at a screen for an extended period of time your blink rate significantly decreases causing dry eye.

While dry eye is fairly easy to treat, Dr. Roland said the strain you put on your eyes when working on a computer or device can cause problems down the road, especially for children. 

“Now that I’m in my forties, what happens is when I try to read something, the closer I hold it the more I can feel how hard I have to focus, whereas when you're little, you're doing the same amount of work focusing you just don't feel that eye strain. That increased level of focusing can accelerate nearsightedness or myopia, which is the reason I’m in glasses,” said Dr. Roland. 

Dr. Roland recommends for every 20 minutes your child is looking at a screen, you should have them look at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds and that gives the eyes time to rest and lubricate. 

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