Technology May Cause Vision Problems in Children

September 28, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. vision (n.)
[vizh-uhn] – ability of the eyes to see
Example: A child generally has better vision than  adults.

2. focus (n.) 
[foh-kuhs] – ability to see an object clearly or sharply
Example: Because elderly people have problems with focus, most cannot read the newspaper without eyeglasses.

3. glare (n.) 
[glair] – very bright light
Example: Sunglasses protect the eyes from the glare of the sun on a hot summer day.

4. coordination (n.) 
[koh-awr-dn-ey-shuhn] – ability of different parts (of the body) to move together at the same time
Example: Eye coordination is important when reading a book, because both eyes must move in the same direction at the same time across the page. 

5. optometric (adj.) 
[op-tom-i-treek] – relating to the eye
Example: The doctor prescribed eyeglasses after the optometric exam.

Read the text below.

More and more children are at risk of suffering from a health problem called Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) as technology is increasingly used in classrooms.

Eye strain, blurred vision, loss of focus and attention, neck pain, double vision, and headaches are the known symptoms of CVS.

This condition happens because computer screens make the eyes work harder.  Computer screens give off glare and require the eye to look closely at images that are not as clear as those on paper. In addition, reading on the computer makes eye coordination difficult because computer screens are usually positioned a little higher than the normal reading position.  

Thirteen-year-old Casey Connelly who suffers from CVS says she often get “tired eyes” as most of her school work involves computers and electronic tablets. Some schools in the US are now using electronic devices not only for typical activities like typing but also for more advanced function such as storing text books.

This set-up requires students like Casey to work longer with computers.  The American Optometric Association (AOA) says that people who spend more than two continuous hours on the computer every day are most likely to develop CVS.

To avoid vision problems, Dr. Andrea Thau from AOA suggests taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes spent on the computer. Other tips include positioning the computer screen four to five inches below eye level and blinking often to keep the eyes from getting dry. An annual eye exam before the school year starts may also help students avoid CVS.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think that computers and tablet devices are necessary tools in classroom education? Why or why not?
·         Aside from health problems, what can be the disadvantages of using computers in teaching students?

Discussion B

·         What other eye-care tips can you offer to better protect the eyes?
·         Is it possible to have good eyesight these days, when almost everything people do involves computers? Please explain your answer.

September 28, 2012