With many children heading back to school virtually this year, they'll be spending quite a bit of time on their electronic devices. Parents already concerned about screen time will most likely see that time double or triple.

And hours on computers or smartphones could spell trouble for young eyes.

Dr. Joseph Calderone, of Better Vision New Jersey in Cranford, says eye concerns include permanent ocular damage, eye strain or fatigue, dry eyes, myopia or nearsightedness.

He said the good news is that decades of research has shown there is no permanent ocular damage from computer, TV or other electronic device use. There is also no cataract, corneal warpage, glaucoma or retinal damage from such uses.

But when it comes to fatigue, children need to take breaks to avoid digital eye strain. Calderone said they should follow the 20-20-20 eye rule. Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away. This will help to avoid eye strain and headaches.

He also said children should never sit too close to a computer screen — about 2 feet is ideal in order to avoid strain on the neck, shoulders, elbows or wrists.

Calderone said the use of a computer or other electronic devices for long periods of time can reduce the blink rate from 12 blinks to about 6 blinks per minute. This is a long enough interval for a child's robust tear film to dry up and cause discomfort or blurry vision. He added that the 20-20-20 rule helps here or a child can use eye drops.

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