Computer monitors, iPads, smartphones, television, and more are all commonplace. In schools, tablets and laptops have become necessary for learning and participation. As prevalent as devices are, they can prove adversarial to your child's eyesight.
The primary cause of vision problems is the amount of time children spend on devices. Additionally, most handheld devices are not held at appropriate distances, causing eye strain.
Education is vital to curbing the increasing number of youngsters with vision problems. Too many parents do not see the harm in letting children play on smart devices. Still, the dangers are real, especially for eyesight development.
Link Between Eyesight & Electronics in Children
When focused on computer or device screens, people do not blink as often as they should. Failing to blink can result in dry and itchy eyes. It can also lead to eye fatigue and a loss of focus.
Human eyes are not designed to stay hyper-focused on a single close-up object. The eyes take in more information than you realize at any given moment, but the brain is a filtration expert. The brain only focuses on necessary details.
Unfortunately, staring at screens limits information intake and forces extreme focus. When combined with a lack of blinking and artificial light, the eyes strain. Too much screen time can result in eye damage, resulting in conditions like:
- Blurred vision
- Retina damage
The Dangers of Blue Light Emissions
Blue light can cause eye damage at specific wavelengths. Unfortunately, many popular devices emit blue light at potentially harmful wavelengths.
While only a theory, experts hypothesize that blue light can damage the eyes. In fact, experts believe 50% of computer users suffer from eye strain caused by blue light.
More frightening is the thought that blue light can damage the retinas. Blue light could lead to permanent vision changes from phototoxicity to macular degeneration. Some research suggests blue light triggers the release of toxins in photoreceptor cells. The toxic molecules can lead to AMD.
There is not enough research yet to confirm the claims or theories. Still, experts do believe enough circumstantial evidence exists to take precautions, like:
- Limiting screen time
- Using blue light filters
- Taking frequent computer or device breaks
- Maintaining safe distances from monitors and other displays (20 to 40 inches)
Tips on Safeguarding Your Child's Eyes
It is unrealistic to remove screens from your child's life. Children need access to devices for school and other activities. Still, it is beneficial to teach your children safe use practices.
The 20-20-20 rule is an effective practice to reduce the risks of eye strain. For every 20 minutes your child spends on a computer, tell them to focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Additionally, have your child spend at least two hours per day of outdoor play.
Maintaining an appropriate distance from screens is also beneficial. The distance will coincide with the size of the screen. For instance, phones should be a minimum of one foot away, laptops two feet, and televisions 10 feet. Eyes strain more with smaller screens, so have your child use larger monitors whenever possible.
Finally, remove glares. Glares result in more strain, so lower screen brightness or use glare protectors.
Booking an Eye Exam Near You
Children's eyesight develops rapidly, so it is crucial to schedule regular vision screenings. You will also need to pay attention to asthenopia and other symptoms. For instance, dry eyes, headaches, eye pain, etc., are all reasons to schedule eye appointments.
Your child's vision is crucial to development. Appropriate screen habits can protect the eyes, but focusing on nutrition is also vital.