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Digital Eye Strain in Kids: How to Prevent It in the Back-to-School Season

Boys Gaming Blue Light

In an era dominated by digital devices, children are spending more time than ever glued to screens. Whether it's online learning, TV, social media, virtual playdates, or video games, the rise in screen time among kids has brought about a concerning issue: digital eye strain. Protecting your child’s eyes from the negative effects of prolonged screen time is important, especially since their eyes are still developing and are more vulnerable to the risks associated with digital eye strain.

At Benavente Eyecare in Munster, we offer personalized solutions to protect children’s eyes from digital screens to maintain healthy eyes and comfortable vision during the back-to-school season and beyond. Book an appointment for a pediatric eye exam today!

CALL 219-836-7800

Understanding Digital Eye Strain in Kids

Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is a condition involving a range of symptoms caused by extended screen use. These symptoms include eye discomfort, dryness, blurry vision, headaches, and sometimes neck and shoulder pain. For children whose eyes are still developing, the effects of digital eye strain can be more severe.

With the shift towards online learning, many kids now spend several hours a day in front of computers or tablets. The combination of poor lighting, reduced blinking, and staring at screens at a fixed distance can lead to a host of eye and health problems. In addition to digital eye strain, spending too much time on screens can also trigger myopia or worsen its progression, which increases the risk of associated eye diseases in the future.

To make matters worse, children often lack the awareness to recognize these symptoms and communicate them effectively.

The Role of Blue Light in Digital Eye Strain

Blue light is a high-energy, short-wavelength light emitted by digital screens, LED lighting, and the sun. While it's a natural part of sunlight and helps regulate our circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) during the day, prolonged exposure to artificial blue light from screens can lead to digital eye strain and disrupt sleep patterns. This is because too much blue light reduces the production of melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone, which causes sleep disruptions that add further strain on your little one’s eyes.

Additionally, children have more transparent eye lenses, which allows more blue light to reach the retina, increasing the effects of digital eye strain.

Preventing Digital Eye Strain: Practical Strategies for Parents

We’ve compiled top tips on how to prevent digital eye strain in children, regardless of whether your child has online schooling or experiences exposure to blue light in other ways.

  • Regular Eye Exams: First things first: schedule regular eye check-ups for your child. If your child has undiagnosed eye or visual problems, they can worsen digital eye strain and cause bigger issues in the long run. Early detection of eye problems can prevent long-term problems and ensure that your child has the appropriate corrective measures if needed.
  • Screen Time Limits & the 20-20-20 Rule: Setting clear limits on screen time is essential. Encourage breaks every 20-30 minutes to allow your kid’s eyes to rest and refocus. The 20-20-20 rule suggests looking at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. You should also encourage activities that promote eye movement and focus changes.
  • Create a Dedicated Workspace: Designate a well-lit and comfortable workspace for your child's online learning. Proper lighting reduces glare and minimizes eye strain, while an adjustable chair and screen height encourage good posture.
  • Blue Light Filters and Glasses: Consider investing in blue light-filtering screen protectors for devices and blue light-filtering glasses. These tools can help reduce blue light exposure and alleviate discomfort.
  • Encourage Outdoor Time: Outdoor activities not only provide a break from screens but also help prevent digital eye strain and nearsightedness. Vitamin D is also necessary for eye health and overall well-being, but remember to encourage your little one to wear sunglasses to shield their eyes from UV rays.
  • Promote Balanced Activities: Encourage a variety of activities beyond screens. Arts and crafts, reading physical books, playing outdoor sports, and spending quality time with family and friends are a few activities that can diversify their visual experiences.
  • Model Healthy Habits: Children learn by example. Demonstrate healthy screen habits yourself, and explain why it's important to prioritize eye health.

CALL 219-836-7800

Schedule A Pediatric Eye Exam in Munster

This back-to-school season, call Benavente Eyecare in Munster to schedule a pediatric eye exam for tailored strategies on preventing your child from experiencing digital eye strain so they can have healthy eyesight.