How many hours a day do your children spend looking at a screen? Not only are they using computers for schoolwork and learning, but there are also recreational and entertainment activities that use screens, such as watching movies or playing games.
Children have access to TVs, video games, tablets, laptops, smartphones, and more. Even if they don’t have their own devices, children often use their parents’ devices. In fact, recent research has suggested that children spend an average of 7 hours every day participating in screen-based media for entertainment… not including screen time for homework and school.
Children Need Screen Breaks
Using a screen isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a child. We live in a digital world, so it is important for children to learn how to use these devices. But if a child spends too much time staring at a screen without a break, it can start to cause symptoms. Common issues from too much screen time include:
- Blurred Vision: When a person focuses on the same thing for too long, it can cause the eye-focusing system to temporarily “lock up” or spasm. As a result, the vision can be blurred when the child looks away from the screen. Taking breaks from screen time helps to reduce the risk of temporary blurred vision.
- Eye Fatigue: Similar to other muscles in the body, the eye muscles can become fatigued due to continued use. If a person of any age is concentrating on a screen for an extended period, it can result in symptoms of fatigue, such as headaches and pain around the eyes and temples. Eye fatigue is higher when the devices are used in low light conditions, such as at night with the lights turned off.
- Dry Eyes: Another problem with focusing the eyes for too long in one place is that dry eyes can occur. This focus causes a person to blink less frequently, which can cause the eyes to dry out.
How Parents Can Help Their Children
What can you do as a parent to help your children protect their eyes? There are several recommendations to follow:
- Monitor and limit screen time.
- Ensure that screens aren’t cutting into a child’s sleeping hours.
- Take frequent breaks – at least every 20 minutes.
- Position the screen so that the computer is slightly below eye level.
- Adjust the lighting in the room to reduce eye fatigue and glare.
- Schedule regular eye appointments and vision screenings.
If your child is expressing concerns about their eyesight, it’s crucial to promptly arrange a meeting with an optometrist. Get in touch with us at Temecula Creek Vision Care to explore the array of services we offer by calling (951) 302 -1331.