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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 | MYT 6:07 AM

3 ways to protect kids’ eyes from a smartphone’s blue light

A look at how students can prevent eye problems when working on a tablet or laptop. Photo: iStock

With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) policies becoming increasingly common in many school districts in the United States, we take a look at how students can prevent eye problems when working on a tablet or laptop.

In the short term, blue light is tiring for eyes, causing eye strain, and also drying eyes out. In the long term, it increases the risks of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).

As well as affecting eye health, blue light is known to suppress the secretion of melatonin – a hormone associated with sleep onset – levels of which usually rise in the body from around 9pm. It may, therefore, disrupt sleep.

Lack of sleep could, in turn, potentially contribute to a drop in performances at school. However, initial feedback from primary schools and middle schools equipped with tablets appears to show boosted motivation and improved collaboration among students.

Cut out blue light

To protect children from it, look for applications or device settings that cut out the shine, such as a “Blue Light Reduction” mode in smartphones and computers. Also, try increasing the size of text onscreen.

Don’t hesitate to ask your optician for advice. Some can now provide lenses with built-in blue light filtering in glasses for children under 16.

Give eyes a break

To reduce eye fatigue and dryness, it’s recommended to look away from the screen regularly for a few seconds at something far away that doesn’t emit blue light.

One technique to try: For every 20 minutes in front of a screen, give eyes a 20-second break by fixing the gaze on an object situated around six meters away. Keep blinking often to rehydrate eyes.

Spend more time outside

To make up for time spent in front of screens, outdoor activities should be stepped up to ensure exposure to natural light. – AFP