Today, kids spend more time than ever in front of a monitor. This often begins at a very early age with a cell phone or tablet. Throughout school, kids will log thousands of hours of screen time as they work on assignments and chat with friends.
As computers become indispensable to the lives of young people, digital eye strain becomes a problem. This condition has multiple effects that grow in intensity over time and can develop into a chronic condition, computer vision syndrome.
Symptoms Of Computer Vision Syndrome
- Blurred vision
- Eye irritation and redness
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
Children may not even notice these symptoms at first. However, over-exposure to digital screens, particularly those using harsh blue light, can have a long-term negative impact on vision. In the older years, it even may contribute to problems like macular degeneration.
For that reason, it’s crucial to model good habits from the start. Just as you would teach your kids good dental health practices like brushing and flossing, you should do the same for eye health.
How to Protect Children from Digital Eye Strain
A variety of approaches can help:
Moderate Screen Time
Computer-related eye strain can happen any time, but becomes more likely after two hours or more in front of the computer. Limiting the total number of screen hours in any one day can help. If screen time is inevitable, a break should be taken every hour.
Ensure a Healthy Workspace
When it comes to the eyes, lighting conditions are essential. Switch from fluorescent bulbs to incandescent ones to reduce flickering that can overtax the eyes. Encourage your child to stop and focus their eyes on distant objects every 20 minutes to reduce strain.
Reduce Blue Glare
The harsh blue light used as backlighting in many modern computer monitors is some of the most dangerous that kids can be exposed to. It’s particularly prevalent in large, flat-screen TVs used as monitors. Software can be used to significantly reduce the blue glare.
Green, leafy vegetables and oily fish like tuna and salmon all have a role to play in supporting overall eye health. In general, the better a child’s diet, the better his or her eyes will be.
Vision Care Specialists
A trusted eye doctor is an essential partner in maintaining eye health throughout life. To learn more or book an examination, contact Vision Care Specialists today.