Screen Time and Your Child’s Vision

Fact: There is a world-wide epidemic of myopia, also known as nearsightedness.

A new study offers evidence that at least part of the worldwide increase in nearsightedness has to do with near work activities with screens and also traditional books. And, that spending time outdoors—especially in early childhood—can slow the progression of nearsightedness.

Fact: There is no doubt that most computer users experience digital eyestrain.

Kids can experience dry eye, eye strain, headaches, and blurry vision, too. Reading glasses or special computer glasses may not be the answer. The key seems to be taking more frequent breaks.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these 10 tips to help protect your child’s eyes from computer eyestrain:

  • Take a 20-second break every 20-minutes. Set a timer to remind them.
  • Alternate an e-book with a real book, and encourage kids to look out the window every two chapters.
  • After completing a level in a video game, look out the window for 20 seconds.
  • Pre-mark books with a paperclip every few chapters to remind your child to look up. Or use the “bookmark” function on an e-book.
  • Don’t use a computer outside or in brightly lit areas to avoid glare on the screen.
  • Adjust the brightness and contrast of your computer screen so that it feels comfortable to you.
  • Use good posture when using a computer and when reading.
  • Encourage your child to hold digital media farther away, 18 to 24 inches is ideal.
  • Create a distraction that causes your child to look up every now and then.
  • Remind them to blink when viewing a screen.

With COVID-19 stay-at-home safeguards in place, children are more apt to spend time in front of a screen, or hunched over a book.
Parents, if you have any concerns about your child’s vision, please call Atlantic Eye at 732-222-7373.