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MONTICELLO - Students are using more computers, laptops and iPads as part of their education. It can put a strain on their eyes.

Optometrists want parents to know about something called computer vision syndrome.

When we look off into the distance our eyes are at actually at rest, because each eye looks straight ahead. But when looking at a screen, your eyes have work harder to focus on a word or an object right in front of you.

If you stare at a screen too long it can cause computer vision syndrome.

Problems range from blurred vision to inability to stay on task which some might mistakenly interpret as dyslexia or A-D-D.

Signs that a child may be having trouble include headaches, frequent blinking or closing one eye and laying their head down on a desk.

Dr. Mary Gregory of Monticello's Uptown Eye Care and the Minnesota Optometric Association said one way to reduce the strain is to position the screen four to five inches down from eye level, a more restful position for your eyes.

She said other tips that help reduce strain include, "Increasing font size, paying attention to the monitor screen size, that it's not too small, and getting it as far back from you as possible."

She said a computer screen should be an arm's length away.

Gregory said it's also important to take 20/20/20 breaks. Every 20 minutes take 20 seconds to look 20 feet away, giving your eyes some time to relax.

She said if kids are interested in a task for five to ten minutes and then push it away, it could be that their vision is bothering them.

Gregory said when it comes to homework, don't set your kids at a desk and tell them to work until it's done. Let them take breaks every ten to 15 minutes and you may just find they work more efficiently.

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