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 The Truth About Screen Time and Its Impact On Your Child's Eyes

 The Truth About Screen Time and Its Impact On Your Child's Eyes

As children grow, vision development is essential for them to see at multiple distances, develop better depth perception, improve reading skills, improve hand-eye coordination, and get better at reading. During childhood, eye problems such as astigmatism, myopia (nearsightedness), and farsightedness (hyperopia), can affect healthy vision development. 

Another more recent issue for children’s eyes is directly related to our increasing reliance on technology for socializing, learning, and obtaining information. Using digital screens is not dangerous in small amounts, but if children use them all the time, it could impact their eyes as they grow. 

Let’s examine how these screens affect children’s vision, and what you can do to help reduce the impact on their eyes. If you live in the Pelham Gardens area of the Bronx, New York, and your child is dealing with problems related to too much screen time, the specialists at Bronx Eye Associates can help.

How digital screens damage eyes

Between watching TV, working on the computer, and texting friends, digital screens are everywhere. With that comes a higher exposure to blue light and other factors that lead to eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision, headache, and watery eyes. 

Blue light is a combination of red, blue, and green wavelengths of the visual light spectrum present in digital screens and LED lamps. While not damaging to our eyes long term, they can disrupt our body’s natural sleep cycle.

Most people who use screens are at risk of these short-term problems, but children with extended time on them can also have issues with attention-related disorders, nearsightedness, reduced exercise, and an increased risk of obesity.

Ways to help your child’s vision

There are some basic things you can do to lower the issues screen time can have on your child’s eyes:

Monitor how much time they spend on screens

In small children, screen time should be limited, as little as possible under two, and no more than an hour daily between the ages of two to five. While we naturally blink 15 times a minute, staring at screens reduces the urge to blink, increasing the risk of eye strain. Keep an eye on how much time your children are using screens. 

Encourage physical activities

Reduce the use of games, computers, and phones by getting them interested in more physical activities. At least an hour of active play is great for kids and gives them something else to enjoy that is independently good for their health. 

Remove digital screens before bed

Game systems, TVs, and phones should be off at least an hour before bedtime so they can get the sleep they need and avoid sore, tired eyes.

Give them frequent breaks from screen time

The American Optometric Association suggests using the 20/20/20 rule to take a break from digital screens, meaning looking away from the screen every 20 minutes for at least 20 seconds to refresh eyes. Walking away from screens at least 10 minutes per hour also helps to reduce eye strain and other issues.

Monitor lighting in rooms

Reading, texting, and other activities should be done in the proper light, so position screens away from lamps and windows to reduce reflections and decrease screen brightness for eye comfort. 

The world is increasingly reliant on screens, and children need to develop technological skills, so try to help them do it safely. If you’re looking for ways to help preserve your child’s vision, make an appointment with the specialists at Bronx Eye Associates today.

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