Years ago, parents often told their children not to sit too close to the television screen because they could ruin their eyes. Fast forward to today, there is almost no escaping the number of screen devices that children interact with daily, including use for school. Here is what parents need to know about how screen time affects children’s eye health.

Is Your Children’s Eye Health at Risk from Your Television?

Some of the earliest color televisions emitted higher levels of radiation that are now considered unsafe. Today’s LED/LCD televisions do not emit such radiation. However, they do emit blue light waves that can causes eye health issues. Sitting too close to the television may not immediately cause permanent eye issues, but it can cause temporary eyestrain. It may also be an indicator that your child is having vision difficulties that require them to sit closer to the screen to see clearly.

Digital Devices Everywhere. Every Day!

With the COVID pandemic, many children wound up sitting for hours a day in front of computer screens to attend school. It is estimated that teenagers can spend an average of seven hours a day between doing schoolwork, watching TV, playing video games, or on social media. This has led to an increase of digital eye strain and other eye problems. It is even suggested that too much screen time could lead to nearsightedness (myopia) due to increased rates of this condition in children.

Your child may be experiencing the effects of too much screen time if they suffer from:

  • Blurry vision when looking away from their screen
  • Eye fatigue from tired eye muscles
  • Irritated dry eyes because they don’t blink as much while focusing on a screen
  • Headaches from eye strain

How to Protect Your Child’s Eye Health

You may not be able to significantly decrease your child’s screen time, but there are things you can do to protect their eye health.

  • Set limits on screen time so that it does not interfere with their sleep or physical activity schedule.
  • Reduce glare in the room by adjusting lighting.
  • Turn on the blue light filter that is built into many digital devices.
  • Remind your child to take frequent breaks from the screen by looking away from their screen every 20 minutes or getting up and walking around for at least 10 minutes every hour.
  • Do not skip your child’s yearly comprehensive eye exam.
  • Speak to your child’s doctor about prescribing blue light lenses.

There is good reason for parents to have concerns over screen time and their children’s eye health. Schedule your child’s next exam today with Valley Eyecare Center by calling (602) 955-2700 and discuss your concerns during the appointment.