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Virtual learning and working from home, tips for how you can save your eyesight

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - A local optometrist says there has been a surge in eye issues over the last few years due to an increase in screen time.

Now, children learning, and adults working, from home are increasing their use in screen time more than ever.

“When you’re reading, when you’re on a screen, when you’re doing so much of that you’re focusing so hard, and if I could relax that a little bit, just ask the eyes to do a little less work, then you’ll have a little less fatigue at the end of the day," Advanced Family Eye Care Optometrist Dr. Carrie Kearnes said.

Looking into bright screens screens won't only affect eyesight, but also sleep.

“The blue light for instance off of those screens affects the melatonin production in the brain which makes it hard to get to sleep and stay asleep,” Dr. Kearnes said.

Blue light blocking glasses have been a popular item in recent months, but Dr. Carrie Kearnes says that you should contact your local eye doctor to get some that are good in quality.

For children who are using these devices, Dr. Kearnes shared some symptoms of eye strain that parents can look for.

“If your child is rubbing their eyes a lot, blinking their eyes, obviously headaches, and, like I said, we talked about the sleep part can make a big difference," she said.

Dr. Kearnes also said that she has seen children experience "eye turn," or lazy eye, as a result from looking into these bright screens. Taking breaks and drinking water are things to help prevent that.

Keeping the top of one's computer eye level and a bit angled away from the user can help as well. One of the most important tips Kearnes shared was the 20-20-20 rule.

“Every 20 minutes you should look away for 20 seconds. Now when you’re looking away you’re not looking at your phone, or anything like that, you’re looking at something 20 feet away. So 20-20-20.”