Electronic smartboards could have a dangerous impact on your child’s vision

(NBC) - Students are now relying more on high tech tools to learn in the classroom. But one out of every four students has an undetected vision problem that makes high tech learning a challenge.

Technology is transforming classrooms. Students complete projects on laptops and now an electronic interactive board - often called a smart board - has replaced the chalk board. Students here love it.

"You can show your things you have done on the computer to anyone else in the classroom and they can see what you did," said Noah Atikilt, a 5th grader.

Students use smart boards to do everything from diagram sentences to learn about science projects. But the high tech learning can take a toll on kids eyes.

"The biggest problem is that they are very compelling to children, so with children what happens is they tend to want to stare and really look at it and it fatigues their system faster," said Dr. Burton Worrell, an optometrist. "So what we need is more breaks we need to also have them vetted before. We need to make sure children get checkups to make sure they are tracking and their eye tracking is good."

Eight-year-old Bryan Aquino eyes don't always team up well together when he reads making smart board learning a challenge.

"I can't really see very well when I'm looking at it with my glasses on," said Bryan.

His vision problems impacted his performance in school.

"The overhead projectors and the white boards are the things they are starting to use in the classroom, as well as the computer screens, were really affecting his ability to read and his ability to get all the information and he'd come home and tell me he was really tired," said Lisa Aquino, Bryan's mother.

Now Bryan does vision therapy to improve his tracking and stamina.

Doctors say the key is to not rely on the smart board too much. The teachers there try to limit students' smart board time to about 15 to 20 minutes to give their eyes a rest. That makes sure the schools vision of creating smarter students doesn't harm their vision.

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