Guidelines To Reduce Visual Stress

Here are recommendations for the placement of reading and writing materials on children's desks, taking resk breaks, and lighting.

Best Distance: Reading, writing, or close-up work is best done at an eye-to activity distance equal to the length between the middle knuckle and elbow. To determine this distance, place knuckles under chin and book under elbow.

Look Up: When reading, look at a specific distant object and let its details come into focus. Do this at least every ten minutes.

Posture:  Sit upright. Avoid reading while lying on your back, side, or stomach on the floor. Avoid reading in bed, unless sitting reasonably upright.

Lighting: Make sure that there is good light on close work tasks and good general room light as well.  Illumination should be such as to avoid glare. For this reason, illumination from behind (over one’s shoulder) is better, if possible. Illumination on what you are doing should be about three times brighter than the rest of the room. Mixing fluorescent and incandescent light is good.

Positioning: Tilt the book up about 20 degrees. This can be used for reading, studying, and/or writing. Children’s eyes convergen and focus more easily when their work materials are at the proper angle.

Computers: Position the work station so that glare is eliminated. If you wear bifocals the reading portion may be at the wrong height for you to be able to view the screen comfortably.  You may require a separate pair of glasses to use on the computer

Television: Encourage your child to sit at least 6 to 8 feet away from the television, and be sure to sit  upright. Maintain good posture. Have indirect lamps on in the room.

Participate: Encourage outdoor play or sports activities that require seeing beyond arm’s length. Encourage your child to become aware of what and where things are on all sides.

Prevention: These suggestions may help reduce the development of some visual problems. Nothing however, can replace regular eye care. You must have regular checkups to make sure that your eyes are free from disease, have the proper prescription, and are functioning together normally.