These days, nearly people of all ages use digital devices, from smartphones and tablets to laptops and computers. According to research, children as young as six months start viewing digital screens, usually from tablets or phones. Meanwhile, teens can spend almost seven hours daily on screen-based media.
Keep in mind that screens affect children differently than adults. Your local eye doctor explains what happens when kids excessively use digital devices.
How Too Much Screen Time Affects Kids
The eyes have muscles around them that can get fatigued from prolonged use. Focusing the eyes on the screen for too long can cause concentration problems. It can also result in headaches around the temples and eyes. Your child’s eyes are more likely to tire easily when using digital devices in poor lighting conditions.
Blinking is something you tend to forget to do when you are in front of the computer or your phone. It is essential to keep your eyes lubricated and nourished. Your child’s eyes could become dry and irritated when your child doesn’t blink enough.
The eye’s focusing system can spasm from gazing at the same distance for too long. This phenomenon is called an accommodation spasm, which causes blurred vision when looking away from the screen. While yet to be proven, studies suggest that using the computer can contribute to increased cases of myopia or nearsightedness in children. If your children have this refractive error, they will need prescription eyeglasses.
What You Can Do
Experts strongly recommend parents monitor their children’s screen time. Make sure your child gets sufficient rest. Keep them away from digital devices at least an hour before bed to avoid disrupted sleep. Allow them to play outdoors instead of using tablets or smartphones during their free time. Also, teach them the 20-20-20 rule, where they look 20 feet away from the screen for 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
Scheduling regular eye exam appointments can help you keep track of your little one’s vision and eye health. At Nova Vision Center, we’re here to assist with your family’s eye care needs. Call us at (703) 578-3600, or complete our contact form to make an appointment. We serve patients in Falls Church and Arlington, VA.