I heard that when women light candles, due to a problem in making a berachah prior to the action, they light the candles, cover their eyes, and then recite the berachah. They have fulfilled their obligation when they open their eyes and see the candles. Most women also have a custom of saying various tefillos by candle lighting. Unfortunately, most say those prayers right after the berachah without first looking at the candles. This should be a hafseik in the berachah. They should open their eyes and look at the candles. Then they may close their eyes and daven as long as they wish. Can you verify the halachic source for this? (i.e. kitzur shulchan aruch, mishna berurah etc.)
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The source for this entire question is the Remo (based on the Mordechai and the Maharil) in Shulcahn Aruch Orach Chaim 263:5 who says:
Similar wording on the Aruch Hashulchan.
The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch (75:4) mentions that she should make a point of looking at the candles, to complete the "lighting post Bracha" scenario.
It would seem that - as you propose - they should look at the candles ASAP after finishing the Bracha, however I don't see anybody discussing this explicitly.
BTW: The Sefardim first make the bracha and then light. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Yalkut Yosef (263:33) says that Sefardim who follow the Ashkenazi custom are making a Bracha L'Vatala.