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When many of us were growing up, school technology consisted of an occasional video or reel-to-reel movie as an adjunct to a lesson or a treat for doing well. Things have certainly changed for the children of today. Technology is as pervasive inside the classroom as it is in the rest of our daily lives. The question is, what impact does the use of technology in school have on your students’ health, more specifically, on their eyes?
Although technology is ingrained in daily learning activities, there are steps you can take to balance the modern classroom environment with your students’ vision care.
School technology: It’s everywhere!
As a teacher, you have many tools to spice up and enhance your lessons. Instead of using chalkboards, you can use projections of your computer screen to give children more information and make lessons more interesting. In addition, 97% of all classrooms today have at least one computer available for students to use.
Many schools also routinely issue iPads to students, and in the age of COVID-19, many use them at home to learn and interact with teachers and classmates. Even off school time, children often look at screens for homework. With all of this school technology usage, it begs the question, What does this mean for your students’ eyes?
The epidemic of nearsightedness
One impact of all this screen use is nearsightedness. Studies have shown that nearsightedness (myopia) has almost doubled in the last 30 years. Some of this, of course, may be due to leisure screen use. But using technology during school hours is likely contributing to the increase in nearsightedness as well.
The hours of small print and blue light from computer screens can lead to this vision problem. And even if a child does not develop nearsightedness, they can still form computer-related eye strain. Symptoms of this vision problem include headaches, blurry vision and dry, itchy eyes. These symptoms can lead to long-term problems with learning too. After all, if a student has headaches and blurry vision constantly, how can they see (let alone concentrate on and understand) the information you present on the board?
What can you do?
There are a number of steps you can take to help your students avoid eye strain from school technology use. For instance, you can mix up how you teach students. Perhaps use blended methods of technology and old-school styles. You may also help avoid eye strain by encouraging children to spend their breaks outdoors. In fact, studies have shown that increasing time outdoors decreases the risk of nearsightedness.
You can also encourage parents to make sure that their children are getting regular comprehensive eye exams to monitor for any problems early on.
Vision Care Direct can help
Encourage parents to view comprehensive eye exams as another form of an annual physical exam. These tests will look for vision problems and overall eye health in their kids.
Some parents may be hesitant and worry about the potential cost of correction (like glasses or contacts). Pre-paid vision plans, like those from Vision Care Direct, are the answer for these parents. Vision Care Direct offers a variety of plans at many price points. Because we are owned by doctors, we focus on eye health, not on making a profit.
All of our plans offer comprehensive eye exams, and if a child needs glasses or contact lenses, Vision Care Direct has great savings on all sorts. We also offer freedom of choice. Under our plans, customers can choose where to get their glasses and can enjoy frames they actually want, rather than having a narrow set of choices.
Technology offers great benefits for today’s students. Unfortunately, childrens’ eyes may pay the price. Getting a regular comprehensive eye exam is one way to ensure that school technology use isn’t compromising vision. To learn more about how Vision Care Direct can support your students’ eye health, contact us today.