Kids love electronics, and most children have multiple devices: a smartphone to stay in touch with their friends, a tablet for apps and games, and a Kindle or iPad for reading books. Even schools are encouraging technology in the classroom, integrating computer skills with core academic subjects.
Sounds good, right? Electronics keep kids busy, quiet and entertained, but they also potentially harm kids’ eyesight. Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome is a legitimate concern nowadays with symptoms of blurred vision, dry eye, headaches, neck strain, and shoulder pain. This is not just a problem for adults who spend all day staring at their computer screens. Eye doctors are claiming that extended hours on computers, tablets and smartphones are causing children to develop nearsightedness earlier than they normally would.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, has a genetic component, but it can be influenced by environmental factors. Overexposure to high-energy visible light, or blue light, can cause eye strain, damage retinal cells and even cause age-related macular degeneration. Because children’s eyes continue to develop into adulthood, too much screen time could adversely affect the development of children’s eyes (Source: Bowling Green Daily News).
What can be done to minimize the harmful effects of blue light? Here are a few ways that you can help keep your children’s eyes healthy—and yours too!
- Remind children not to hold electronics too close to their face.
- Keep a distance of 14 to 18 inches between the eyes and a computer screen.
- Remember is the 20-20-20 Rule: every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and focus on an object at least 20 feet away.
- Encourage children to play outside more. This helps the eyes to relax and focus on more distant objects.
- Maintain your eye health by scheduling regular comprehensive eye exams for the whole family.