August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and school is back in session. It’s a good time to consider whether too much screen time may be harming your child’s visual development—and if it is, learn what you can do about it.
Causes of Digital Eyestrain
Ophthalmologists are reporting an increase in child patients who have dry eye and eye strain caused by too much time looking at screens. Since 1971, the incidence of nearsightedness (also known as myopia) has nearly doubled in the US and has also increased significantly worldwide. A recent study found that at least part of the increase in nearsightedness has to do with “near work” activities, including screen time and even traditional books. Spending time outdoors, especially in early childhood, can help slow the progression of nearsightedness.
Although scientists are still looking for the full answer to the question of why myopia has increased so much in such a short time, they do know that using computers can cause digital eyestrain. This is true for both children and adults. Symptoms can include headaches, blurry vision, eye strain, and dry eye. Although the symptoms are usually temporary, they can also be frequent.
Preventing Digital Eyestrain
So, what’s the best way to prevent digital eyestrain? Ophthalmologists recommend taking a 20 second break from near work every 20 minutes. The most effective way to remember to do this is often to set a timer. We don’t blink as often when focusing on near work, so giving our eyes a brief break can help counteract that.
Here are a few tips to help prevent digital eyestrain:
- Avoid using a computer or other digital device outside or in bright lit areas. The glare on the screen can cause eyestrain.
- Practice good posture when reading or using a computer.
- Use new chapters in books as a reminder to give you eyes a quick break.
- Adjust your computer screen’s brightness and contrast to a level that feels comfortable for you.
- Encourage children to hold digital media about 18-24 inches away from their eyes.
You can learn more about your child’s eyesight and how to prevent eye injuries here.
If your child has had an eye injury due to a defective product, contact the Schuerman Law office today. Schuerman Law has been working with personal injury claims for over 40 years. John Schuerman will compassionately advocate for injured individuals as well as their families while fighting for full compensation of their claims. Schuerman Law offers evening and weekend appointments in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.