As we increasingly rely on screens for work, school, and leisure activities, our eyes are under more strain than ever before. This is especially true for children, who are often spending hours each day staring at screens for homework, gaming, and socialising. The result is an increased risk of digital eye strain, a condition that can cause discomfort, fatigue, and even long-term vision problems if left unchecked. As a parent, it’s important to understand what digital eye strain is, how it affects children, and what can be done to protect their vision.
What is digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome and digital eye syndrome, is a condition that occurs when the eyes are subjected to extended periods of sustained screen time. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including:
- Eye fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Dry eyes
- Neck and shoulder pain
While these symptoms are usually temporary and can be relieved by taking a break from screens, prolonged and repeated exposure to digital devices can lead to more serious vision problems over time.
How does digital eye strain affect children?
Children are particularly vulnerable to digital eye strain because their eyes are still developing. It is recommended that children have their first comprehensive eye exam at six months of age, and then again at three years old, and before starting school. After that, regular eye exams are recommended every two years, or more frequently if there are any concerns.
Even with regular eye exams, children who spend a lot of time in front of screens are at increased risk for digital eye strain and a variety of other vision related problems.
Digital eye strain treatment
There are several steps that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the risk of long-term vision problems. Here are some strategies that parents can use to protect their child’s vision:
Taking regular breaks from screens can also help reduce the risk of digital eye strain. It is recommended that parents encourage the 20-20-20 rule. This involves taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away. This can help reduce eye fatigue and other symptoms associated with digital eye strain.
Adjust Screen Settings
Adjusting the settings on your child’s screen can also help reduce the risk of digital eye strain. For example, you can adjust the brightness of the screen to reduce glare, increase the text size to make it easier to read, and use a filter to reduce blue light in the evening. These adjustments can help reduce the strain on your child’s eyes while they are using digital devices.
Encourage Outdoor Time
Encouraging your child to spend more time outdoors can also help protect their vision. Spending time outdoors has been shown to reduce the risk of myopia (shortsightedness)in children, which is a common vision problem associated with digital eye strain. Encouraging your child to play sports or engage in other outdoor activities can help reduce the time they spend in front of screens.
Get Regular Eye Exams
Finally, getting regular eye exams is crucial for monitoring the health of your child’s vision. It is recommended that children have their eyes checked at least once before they start school, and then every two years after that. Regular eye exams can help detect vision problems early and allow for prompt treatment, which can help prevent long-term eye damage.
At Bayside Eyecare, we understand the importance of protecting your child’s vision. Our teamare dedicated to helping parents take the necessary steps to promote healthy eye habits and prevent digital eye strain. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you protect your child’s vision, or if you would like to schedule an eye check for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (03) 9909 5329 or fill out our online contact form.