These days, children have many reasons to be glued to the screen. Aside from doing their homework on computers, they also get video games, movies, shows, and social media through digital devices. But although digital screens and media access come with a wealth of information to learn more about the world, they are also very damaging for your kids' eyes.
Unfortunately, statistics show that since 2020, children's average screen use has increased 1.5 times, from 162 minutes to 246 minutes daily. That's why it's essential to keep a close watch on your kids' eye health. Here's what you need to know about how digital screens affect their eyes—and how you can help.
How do digital screens affect your children's eyes?
Since more kids now use digital devices, many studies have been conducted about their impacts on vision and eye health. So far, researchers have found that children exposed to digital screens before age three are more likely to develop myopia, also known as near-sightedness. Moreover, kids using screens for over three hours a day were four times more likely to have myopia than those who spend only an hour daily. Meanwhile, children who use gadgets heavily are more likely to develop dry eyes. This potentially long-term condition can cause blurry vision and discomfort. It can also lead to digital eye strain, which can cause your kids to experience headaches and itchy or sore eyes. These complications can carry into adulthood and pose difficulties as your kids pursue higher education and their professional lives.
How can you help reduce the impact of digital screens on your children?
Encourage unplugged activities
One of the best ways to protect your kids' eyes is by reducing their screen time and instead encouraging unplugged activities that don't involve digital devices. They'll be more motivated if their parents are involved, so try activities like baking, scavenger hunts, board games, or building a fort. If your kids are older, they may be more interested in exploring the outdoors or learning a new sport, instrument, or craft. Find something that interests them to avoid prolonged use of digital screens.
Get them regular eye exams
Booking regular eye exams for your kids allows for the early detection, treatment, or prevention of any eye problems or irregularities, especially those caused by the prolonged use of digital screens. Ensure your doctor performs a comprehensive assessment testing their visual acuity, depth perception, movement, and alignment. Ask them if there are any conditions your child is developing or is likely to in the future—and how you can prevent it. Finally, request prescription glasses if your children require vision correction. That way, their vision won't worsen over time, and they won't experience the headaches that come with eye strain. You can opt for comfortable, waterproof, and durable frames to better accommodate your kids' outdoor activities so they can unplug more frequently. With professional aid, you can take the necessary precautions to keep their vision healthy.
Get blue light glasses
Devices emit blue light, which can mess with sleep patterns and heighten irritation, sensitivity, and dryness in the eyes. So even if your kids don't have ongoing eye complications, it's better to prevent them from developing in the first place with blue light glasses. These have a lens coating that filters blue light from digital devices, so your children will be better protected when they do use gadgets. Ask them to wear these glasses during their allotted screen time—especially at night or when venturing outdoors, as blue light can disrupt sleep patterns and also comes from the sun. In this way, you can protect their vision despite unpreventable blue light exposure.
Digital devices can have incredible benefits for things like learning and entertainment. However, they can also negatively impact your kids' eyes. With these precautions, you can help your kids enjoy prolonged eye health to help them better get through life.
Article written by Rosy Johns