We’ve all felt it during a long day at our desk job or after a lengthy session of scrolling through social media on our smartphones–digital eye strain.
But did you know your kids may be suffering too? In today’s world, children are using various digital devices just as much, if not more, than their adult counterparts. Increased computer usage in school combined with the hours after school spent watching television, playing video games or on tablets and phones may be hurting your child’s eyes.
Children May Be More Susceptible To Eye Strain
Eye strain can be especially hard on a child’s developing eyes. It is characterized by headaches, neck and back pain, eye dryness and fatigue, blurry vision and difficulty shifting focus to objects at a distance.
There are a couple of factors that make children more likely to experience digital eye strain. For example, if a child is using an adult’s computer, the workstation might not be ideal. Difficulty reaching the keyboard or placing their feet to the floor can contribute to arm, neck and back discomfort. In addition, a child at an adult’s computer cannot achieve the optimal viewing angle, which is slightly downward at a 15 degree angle.
Holding tablets or phones too close to their eyes for long periods of time also contributes to eye strain. The ideal distance between a screen and your eyes is about an arm’s length away or more.
A child may also be unaware of problems or simply ignore them. They may not be aware of the hours they are spending in front of a screen and take few breaks, if any. Children are also more likely to have uncorrected problems with their vision which can further contribute to eye strain, especially after prolonged exposure to digital screens. Vision problems often go undetected because children assume that everyone sees the way they do.
Help Your Child Develop Healthy Vision And Avoid Strain
Recent studies have indicated that, on average, the more time children spend outside, the lower their risk of developing myopia, or nearsightedness. Long hours on digital screens can be hard on developing eyes. One thing that you can do to help your child’s vision is limit the amount of time you allow them to be on digital devices. Encourage them to play outside and have fun!
Another thing you can do to help your child avoid digital eye strain is make sure they take frequent breaks. We call this the 20/20/20 rule. Teach them to look at something 20 feet away from their screens for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This will give their eyes a much-needed break.
Regular Eye Exams Are Essential For Healthy Vision
Don’t forget to visit your local Vision Source® member! Every child needs a regular eye exam so we can make sure that their eyes are developing properly and that their vision is correct. We want to ensure they have healthy vision for a lifetime!