Is Too Much Screen Time Harmful for Children’s Eyes?
In today’s society, children are spending more and more time sitting in front of screens. This is leading to increased concern about potential harm to their visual development. Ophthalmologists - physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care - are seeing more cases related to digital technology use and significant increases in dry eyes and eye strain from those who have too much screen time. Especially those who do not take appropriate measures to give their eyes a break from constant screen concentration. As children’s screen time continues to rise, many parents wonder how harmful excessive exposure to electronic media can be. Technology usage today is inevitable and, frequent exposure can prepare children for future careers in technology-related fields, or jobs that utilize technology in their daily roles. Conversely, children who spend too much time with technology rather than engaging in extracurricular activities can become socially stunted and experience health-related problems, including visual development issues. A study in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, asserts that the worldwide increase in myopia or nearsightedness has to do with close-up activities; not only on screens but also traditional books. The study also shows that spending time outdoors during childhood is extremely beneficial for their health and can slow the progression of nearsightedness. Other studies have indicated that excessive screen usage in young children and adolescents has been associated with development of acute onset esotropia, or crossing of the eyes. As professionals continue to research the effects of screens and technology on children, one thing is certain - majority of computer users experience digital eye strain. Similarly to adults, children can have the same symptoms from looking at a screen too much. These may include; dry eyes, eye strain, headaches and blurred vision. These symptoms don’t mean your child has developed a visual impairment or a visual condition, but it does mean that they should be encouraged to take frequent breaks. It is also imperative to ensure you are participating in regular eye check ups with an eye doctor to monitor and maintain eye health. Medical Arts Eye Clinic & Optical have provided some tips to help protect your child’s eyes from eye strain and other issues: Set a timer to limit the amount of screen related activity your child gets Alternate reading an e-book with a real book and encourage children to look up and out the window every two chapters. Also look out the window regularly when playing video games Avoid using a computer outside or in brightly lit areas, as the glare on the screen can create strain Use good posture when using a computer and when reading Encourage your child to hold digital media farther away Remind children to blink when watching a screen Each member of the vision care team at Medical Arts Eye Clinic & Optical is carefully hand-selected by our doctors and management to provide you with the best ophthalmology care in the Auburn-Opelika area. Contact us today on 334-821-3838 to schedule your appointment and discover how we can assist your eye health!