How Screen Time Affects Your Child’s Vision

How Screen Time Affects Your Child’s Vision

From black and white televisions to smartphones, “too much screen time” has long been considered as a cause of poor eyesight. Research has, in fact, shown that too much screen time can have a detrimental effect on their vision. This is the reason why the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that parents limit screen time to less than one hour for children two to five years old, and to impose 'consistent limits' on older children while prioritizing sleep, physical activity and healthy behavior. In this article, we will look at the repercussions of staring at a screen too often and what parents can do to combat this.

The effects of too much screen time on the eyes

Excessive exposure to screens can result in various eye problems, such as dry eye syndrome and computer vision syndrome. It can also heighten the likelihood of nearsightedness.

Dry eye syndrome is a condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tears to properly lubricate the eyes. If left untreated, severe dry eyes can lead to eye inflammation, abrasion of the corneal surface, corneal ulcer and vision problems.

Computer vision syndrome is the umbrella term for all the eyestrain and discomfort that is caused by excessive exposure to gadget screens. Although there is no evidence that computer vision can lead to long-term eye conditions, Web MD notes that it can still cause blurred vision, eye irritation and double vision.

While excessive screen time isn’t enough to cause nearsightedness on its own, it contributes to the early development of it among children. ABC News's article on screen time mentioned that time in the sun is crucial to the development of good vision especially in kids. When kids are glued to their screens, they cannot get the recommended amount of bright ambient light (the kind of light you get outside) needed for optimal eye health.

Despite the noted effects of prolonged screen exposure, digital media consumption is only set to keep growing. Statistics collected by Maryville University show that digital ad spending surpassed televised advertising for the first time in 2017, and that it will continue to grow to $335 billion this year. A clear sign of how computers and smartphones have come to dominate society.

The World Economic Forum has likewise found that 58% of kids want to spend their free time on devices, and that the average American child will spend 18.6 hours a week playing on a device. Older children spend even more time on their phones, with surveys by Common Sense Media showing that, on average, kids between 8 and 12 years old use just under five hours worth of screen media per day, while teens (kids between 13 and 18 years old) spent up to 7 hours and 22 minutes on digital devices. These numbers have only slightly gone up in recent years, but parents need to stay vigilant and continue to monitor their kids’ screen time before irreparable damage is done to their eyesight.


Ways to keep your kids’ eyes healthy

Pay careful attention to your kids’ eyesight

Eye problems don’t usually manifest in noticeable ways -- as Heidi wrote in ‘So Your Kid Needs Glasses’, and because of this, parents may find themselves feeling stumped after realizing that their kids’ eyesight has become so poor. By being mindful of your child’s behavior, you'll be able to spot the above conditions early on and have their eyes checked as soon as possible.

Be an example of healthy electronic use

Regardless of how often you tell your kids to limit the time they spend on screens, they will hardly follow if they see you doing the opposite. So before you think about scrolling through your phone every spare minute you have, think about how it will be perceived by your kids. Are you setting a good example for them to follow or not?

Establish rules about electronic use

While it is true that life without technology nowadays is barely possible, a few moments at home without gadgets won’t hurt. Very Well Family advises parents to set aside time for the entire family to be unplugged and create “Technology-Free Zones” where electronics are not allowed.

Sometimes, even when you’ve taken all the necessary measures to keep your kids from having eye problems, they still end up getting one. Fortunately, there are glasses such as Fitz Frames that are suitable for kids, and all of which can be fitted with blue light-blocking lenses. To learn more about the right glasses for your kids, explore our blog or check out our FAQ for more information.




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By: Fatima Alice

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