Today’s kids have grown up with computers and tablets, and many don’t see anything wrong with spending hours in front of them. Even parents agree that online games and apps provide numerous opportunities for learning, discovering and bonding with others. Although kids and computers are inseparable, it’s worth considering the effects that digital eye strain can have on the eyes and vision.
Tablet Use in Kids
More than 76 percent of American children under the age of 18 spend more than two hours in front of a screen each day. Fifty-five percent report having side effects after two hours, such as:
● Neck and shoulder pain
● Reduced attention span
● Poor behavior
● Eye strain
● Dry, irritated eyes
Computer Risks for Children
One might assume that putting away the tablet and getting some fresh air would be a quick fix for eye fatigue, but it’s possible that continued eye strain can have long-term consequences. Digital fatigue can happen from spending too much time on tablets, computers, e-readers, smartphones and other devices, and it can happen to children just as well as adults.
Aside from digital eye strain, children who use tablets for several hours a day may be at a higher risk of progressive myopia. Their eyes may also get too much blue light, which can lead to a higher chance of developing macular degeneration later in life. All digital devices emit blue light.
Preventing Eye Strain in Kids
The best way to prevent eye strain in kids is to limit tablet time. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends no more than two hours a day in front of the screen for children 2 and over.
In an ideal world, you might be able to keep your kids off their tablets. However, kids today are glued to their screens. If your child insists on being on their devices frequently, here are a few tips to follow to protect their vision and eye health.
● Use appropriate lighting
● Minimize glare
● Adjust the device display
● Practice healthy computer ergonomics
● Take frequent breaks
● If your child wears glasses, choose lenses that block blue light
● If your child doesn’t wear glasses, purchase blue-blocking lenses
● Schedule eye doctor visits regularly
Computers and tablets are an important part of life. By protecting the eyesight and scheduling regular eye doctor visits, you can keep your child safe and comfortable when using digital devices.