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Optometry Australia

Written by ProVision Eyecare

Everyone’s glued to their screens nowadays – phones, computers, iPads, laptops. But none more than our children who are being brought up in the digital age revealed Optometry Australia in their latest media release.



One downside of all this digital time is that increasingly, children are suffering from dry eyes related to digital eye strain from the hours they spend staring at screens.

Symptoms of dry eye include:

    • a gritty feeling in the eye
    • crusting on eyelids
    • feeling like there’s something in your eye
    • redness
    • blurry vision
    • light sensitivity

Increased prevalence of dry eye and digital eye strain in
Australian kids

Optometrist and Head of the University of Canberra’s Discipline of Optometry, Dr Nicola Anstice, spoke about the digital age and its impact on children’s vision at a recent optometry conference to alert optometrists to this trend.

She said “Australian children are presenting more commonly to optometrists with a range of visual problems related to screen use, Evidence from studies indicates dry eye and digital eye strain is an issue in kids today and the prevalence of dry eye in children is higher than ever. Dry eye is generally seen as an adult condition but practitioners should be looking for and treating digital eye strain in children and teaching them to blink training to help combat digitally related dry eye problems. When looking at digital screens on phones, computers, iPads etc, we often don’t do a full blink and are more likely to do a partial blink than if reading hard copy material, resulting in reduced ocular surface lubrication.”

The type of screens used, viewing distances, how many hours a day they use digital devices all have an impact and is associated with a higher incidence of digital eye strain symptoms

The 20-20-20 rule

It’s important to take a 20-second break from screens every 20 minutes and look at an object at least 20 feet away (six metres) for around 20 seconds.” Regular vision breaks from screens will help your child’s eye muscles to have the opportunity to relax from looking at screens. We encourage children to incorporate this into their daily routine.

If your child is reporting eye strain, blurred vision or visual discomfort with screen use we recommend a comprehensive eye examination including a full binocular vision evaluation.