Tips to avoid eye damage while studying

Australian kids could be spending an average of three hours a day in front of screens. Eye strain has the potential to harm eyes, so here are a few ways people can protect their eyes while studying.

With the return of school, books and computers may once again begin to dominate households across Australia. 

At Bupa we wanted to see the impact all that study could have on young eyes, so we asked more than 1,250 parents to tell us their experiences.

The survey revealed that school-aged kids are spending on average three hours a day in front of screens. On top of this is any time spent reading paper-based books or completing worksheets.

All this screen time had parents worried, with 86 percent of parents saying that they believed screen time was impacting their child’s eyesight, with one in three saying that felt it impacted them a great deal. 

But only a third of parents could name one of the most common ways to help reduce eye strain from screens, which is to take regular breaks and change their field of vision.  
Boy looking at computer

Greg McPherson, General Manager of Bupa Optical, says a key rule to remember is:

"Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet (six metres) away, for 20 seconds. This minimises eye strain and fatigue and allows the eyes to relax.”

That’s a tip that I’ll certainly be using with my kids, but it’s also applicable for anyone who works in front of a computer all day. 

Bupa Optical

At Bupa Optical, your eye health is our priority. That's why we start with assessing the health of your eyes, what you can see and what we can do to keep you looking great.

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Here are some other tips that can help:

  • Ensure good, even lighting (try to avoid shadows, glare, reflections, or dark spots on the screen).
  • Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet (6 metres) away for 20 seconds.
  • Take regular breaks from reading and homework to give your eyes a rest – look out the window, or go for a walk or play. 
  • Maintain a working distance of around 35 centimetres between you and your device or book. Sit as far back from the TV as possible and practicable.
  • Limit the amount of time spent on a computer, and take a break for five to 10 minutes at least once every hour. Again, look out the window, or go outside to change the focusing distance of the eyes.
  • Computer screens should be positioned slightly below eye level, which is the most comfortable position of gaze for the eyes. 
  • The font should be big enough that you don’t have to strain to see it.
  • Screen time should be limited to a maximum of two hours at a time (this includes computers and laptops, TV, video games, smart phones, tablets, etc).  
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