Published On: Wed, Sep 8th, 2021

Screen Time and How it Affects Eyesight in Children

With the rise of digital devices, including games and toys for children, the amount of time children spend on digital devices has increased tremendously. Children have the option to play on their parent’s smartphone, a tablet, a computer, or spend their time watching TV. While these devices can provide a distraction for children, parents need to monitor how much time their children spend on these digital devices. 

Why Taking Breaks are Important

Eye Fatigue

Without screen breaks, children may experience eye fatigue. Like any other muscle, the muscles around the eyes can get strained from continued use. When children spend too much time focusing on their screens, they can experience headaches around the temple and eyes. This prolonged use may also lead to difficulty focusing. 

The lighting around the screens is important to take into account. When lights reflect a glare into the children’s eyes, children will squint at their screens, which leads to more eye fatigue. 

Dry Eyes

Studies have shown that children tend to blink less frequently when they’re using digital devices. The reduction of blinking can lead children to experience irritation and dry eyes. This is especially prominent when children are using digital devices that are placed above eye level. They’re required to look up and their eyes widen, which can increase the rate at which their eyes dry out.

Blurry Vision

Looking at the same distance for an extended period of time can cause issues with vision as well. Focusing on one distance for an extended period of time can cause the eye’s focusing system to “lock-up” and can lead to blurry vision when children look away from their screens.  

What can Parents do?

Reduce Screen Time

Reducing screen time is essential for maintaining children’s eye health. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children younger than 18 months old have no screen time unless video chatting with family. For children between 18 months and 2 years, limited and supervised electronic use is permitted, but parents shouldn’t leave children alone with their devices. AAP recommends children between 2 and 5 years old are limited to one hour of screen time with breaks in between. For children 6 years and older, the AAP recommends setting consistent limits on screen time and monitoring the use of digital devices, with breaks in between.

Allowing breaks in between screen time usage and encouraging children to blink more will help reduce dry and irritated eyes. 

Regular Visits with an Eye Doctor

Make consistent appointments with your eye doctor. If you have any questions about your child’s eye health or what other precautions you need to take, visit the Lasik surgeon in Oklahoma City. They can help parents ensure they are making the best decision for their children and their eye health.

Author: Deny Smith

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