Get Students Ready For School for the Winter Semester!

The COVID-19 outbreak is remaking the way students learn as they are now spending even more time than ever on their digital devices and computers. This change could relate to more digital eye strain and more potential damage from the harmful blue light for their young eyes.

Digital eye strain occurs as the visual demands of the task exceed the visual abilities of the individual to comfortably perform them and is commonly present for those who spending long continuous hours at a digital device. As the use of digital devices exponentially increase in children, there are some recommendations that can help parents to mitigate digital eye strain symptoms from their children. This includes:

Screen position - Computer screens should be 15-20 degrees below eye level (or about 4-5 inches) as measured from the centre of the screen and 20-28 inches from your eyes.

Lighting - Tilt or position the computer screen in a way that minimizes glare from overhead lighting or windows. If there is no way to cut glare, consider using an anti-glare screen to decrease reflected light. Furthermore, adjust your device light level as close to the light level in the environment.

Good posture - Adjust your chair height so that feet are resting flat on the floor, back is straight and wrists are not resting on the keyboard when typing.

Remember to blink - To minimize changes of dry or uncomfortable eyes when using the digital devices, be sure to blink frequently to keep the surface of your eyes moist.

Take frequent breaks - Generally, it is good advice for every 20 minutes of screen viewing to look into the distance for at least 20 seconds to allow your eyes a chance to refocus. For every two hours of continuous screen use, consider resting your eyes for 15 minutes.

Get ready for bed - Stop working on your computer, tablet, or smartphone at least 1 hour before bedtime. The mental and visual demands of answering emails, playing a video game, or even surfing the web may prevent you from falling asleep or sleeping soundly.

Blue light concerns originate from the wavelength's proximity to ultraviolet (UV) light. Visible blue light at 420-480 nm stops just short of the invisible UV band of 10-400 nm. While anterior structures of the eye block and absorb most UV rays from reaching the retina, visible blue light passes through the cornea and on to the light-sensitive tissue.

Long-term, overexposure to UV rays can cause serious problems that affect the eye, such as corneal damage, cataract, pterygium and increased risk of cancer, and may be a risk factor in development of age-related macular degeneration. This raise concerns about the increased amount of blue light people receive from the use of digital devices.

While the long term consequences of blue light exposure in children are not well understood. Evidence, however, suggests excessive blue light exposure, including that from digital device screens, can affect melatonin release and affect normal sleep cycle. Artificial bright light stimulation of retinal cells at nighttime can delay sleep onset, degrade sleep quality and impair alertness the following day. Stimulation of these cells by blue-coloured light can be beneficial to keep one alert during tedious activities but can be detrimental if stimulated right before bedtime.

As the school year is resuming, students are learning remotely, it is very important to protect young eyes from increased screen time and exposure to blue light. Get back-to-school with blue-block lens! While offering 100% UV protection, blue-block lenses are ideal for viewing computer screens and digital devices that emit blue light and along with an anti-reflective coating that helps to reduced glare and reflections from flat surfaces, water and indoor lighting. Eyeglass products that keep young eyes comfortable while doing school work can enable higher-quality study time and help accelerate their academic performance.

Contact Gordon Wood Optical for the optimal blue light lenses.

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