Children spend more time staring at digital screens on computers, tablets, TVs, smartphones, and other devices than ever. Unfortunately, increased screen time can take a toll on children’s well-being, especially how their eyes may feel.
Research shows that children as young as six months use digital media devices, such as their parents’ smartphones. Kids spend nearly 7 hours daily using screened-based media, watching TV, video games, and social media. If they’re having fun, they might keep playing and watching the screen to eye-rubbing.
Why are screen breaks important
Staring at a digital device without taking breaks can cause symptoms like these in kids:
- Eye fatigue. Muscles around the eye can get tired from continued use easily. Concentrating on a screen for long periods can cause difficulties and headaches centred around the eyes. Children may also use screen devices with not-so-ideal lighting, causing fatigue from squinting.
- Blurry vision. Gazing at the same point for an extended time causes the eye’s focusing system to spasm. This condition, called accommodation spasm, causes a child’s vision to blur when they look away from the screen. Some studies suggest that computer use and other close-up indoor activities may fuel myopia rates among children. More time playing outside can help in healthier vision in children.
- Dry eyes. Studies show that people blink less often when concentrating on the screen, leaving their eyes dry. Desktop and laptop computer use can be tough on children’s eyes because these screens are usually higher in the visual field.
Our tips for parents:
- Take frequent breaks. Children frequently get so absorbed in what they’re doing that they don’t notice symptoms of eye strain. Remind them to take breaks. We recommend the 20/20/20 rule: look away from the screen every 20 minutes, and focus on an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. In addition, children should look away from the digital screen for at least 10 minutes every hour. A timer can help your child remember, and even software programs can help by turning off the screen regularly.
- Remember to blink. Research says staring at a computer can cut blinking rates by half and cause dry eyes. Please encourage your child to try to blink regularly, especially during breaks. Your eye doctor may recommend moisturizing eye drops or a room humidifier if your child continues to be bothered by dry eyes.
- Screen positioning. Ensure the screen on your child’s desktop or laptop computer is below eye level. Looking up at a digital screen opens eyes wider, resulting in eyes drying out quicker. Some experts suggest positioning digital devices based on the 1/2/10 rule: mobile phones at one foot, desktop devices at two feet, and roughly 10 feet for TV screens. Adjusting the font size, especially on smaller screens, so it’s twice as big and your child can comfortably read will help reduce eye fatigue.
Children, especially younger ones, will likely need help and reminders to use digital screen devices in an eye-friendly way. If you have any questions about how too much screen time affects kids’ eyes or want to keeping your child’s eyes and vision healthy, contact us, Clear Vision – eye clinic in mumbai and book an appointment right away.