Nowadays, children spend the majority of their free time on digital devices versus playing outdoors. As a parent, this may seem harmless but in reality, staring at digital screens for hours can cause vision problems. Scheduling your child’s pediatric eye exam once a year is important to ensure their vision is developing at every age. The best way to catch eyesight conditions is through an eye examination.
Did you know that “screen time” is the amount of time you spend on digital devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones? According to a survey conducted by the American Optometric Association, 73% of parents say that their child uses a computer or tablet daily. As children grow, they tend to increase their screen time. It is more than likely once a child enters middle school or high school, they are spending up to 9 hours a day on a digital device. This screen time is typically split between learning in the classroom and socializing with friends.
Immediate vs. Long-term risks
There are immediate and long-term risks associated with too much screen time. Immediate risks can include excessive exposure to blue light and sleep disruption. Blue light exposure can lead to Computer Vision Syndrome. CVS is caused by visual stress that results from prolonged digital device use. Patients will experience eye discomfort, eyestrain, blurred vision, and headaches for symptoms. Sleep disruption can be exceptionally challenging for children. This can lead to daytime drowsiness and poor performance in the classroom. The long-term risks of blue light exposure from repeated use of digital displays are currently unknown. This is because no previous generation has been exposed to an excessive amount of blue light from early childhood on. As a child, the lens of their eyes is superbly clear and allows the greatest amount of blue light to enter the retina. It is imperative to take protective measures, while the child is young in order to protect their vision.
Tips for Healthy Eyes
We wanted to share the best ways to protect your child’s vision from the latest technologies.
- Limit screen time on devices by setting a timer
- Encourage your child to play outdoors from one of their favorite activities
- When reading an e-book, urge your kids to look up and out the window every two chapters
- Adjust the brightness and contrast of their digital displays to ensure it is not too bright for their eyes
- Purchase eyeglasses for your child that include blue light protection
- Encourage your child to hold digital devices at least 18 to 24 inches away
- Often times we forget to blink, so remind your child to blink when staring at their digital devices
Since we are nearing the end of the school year, schedule your child’s annual eye exam this summer at one of our 5 Malbar Vision locations to ensure they have healthy eyes.