Children are using computers and handheld devices for much longer periods of time while they do their schoolwork and communicate with their friends. The eyes of children were not designed to look at digital devices for 6-8 hours per day. Normal vision development requires several hours a day of outside activities. The prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness) is often directly related to the amount of near work a child does. Children can and do experience “Computer Vision Syndrome” (or “Digital Eye Strain”).
Some symptoms may include:
-Difficulty shifting their focus to objects off at the distance
-Neck and back pain
-Excessive blinking and squinting
Here are a few tips:
1. The “20-20-20 Rule”: This rule says for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, you should then look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple exercise helps relax your focusing system.
2. Making sure to increase the working distance with any digital device (cell phones included) to at least an arm’s length away and slightly below eye level.
3. Taking appropriate breaks: Playing outside and exercising is a great way for children to get exposure to natural light and focus on objects at different distances. It is recommended to shut off electronic devices at least one hour prior to going to bed (due to the exposure to the screen).
4. Encourage frequent posture checks: Check in with your child to make sure they are not slouching or holding the device too closely to their eyes.
5. Remind your child to blink!
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