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The Hood Magazine

Teens, Screens, and the Eyes

Jan 24, 2021 03:49PM ● By Dr. Ashley Gentrup, Visions Eye Care + Vision Therapy Center

By Dr. Ashley Gentrup, Visions Eye Care + Vision Therapy Center 


With most everyone using computers and digital technology more than ever, it is important to understand that our eyes are not designed to be focused on a digital screen for hours at a time. This is difficult to navigate in the teenage years as so much of your teen’s schoolwork and social connections are tied to electronic devices.  

It is helpful to encourage non-screen related activities with your teens to occupy their time. However, when screen time is unavoidable, we recommend applying the 20-20-20 rule to prevent visual symptoms: 

For every 20 minutes of screen time, take 20 seconds and look 20 feet away.  

It is also important to watch for signs of visual strain with your child. Signs that your teen may be having difficulty looking at a computer screen, tablet or smart phone, include:  

  • Tired or strained eyes 
  • Dry eyes  
  • Headaches  
  • Sensitivity to light 
  • Red eyes  
  • Neck pain  
  • Blurred vision  
  • Difficulties with attention  

Special lenses can be prescribed that are designed to help reduce the strain and are available to help individuals who need glasses full time or just need some assistance while working on devices. If your teen complains of any of the above, a comprehensive eye exam can help determine the cause and best course of action.