Screens, today, have become an integral part of our daily lives. While technology offers numerous benefits, excessive screen time can take a toll on our children’s eyes, potentially leading to various eye health issues.
Western Sydney University notes that during the pandemic, kids’ screen time rose by 50 percent. Kids these days are found to spend an overwhelming amount of time in front of televisions, computers, and phones. This increase in screen time is, as expected, causing a lot of harm to their eyes.
In this article, we will explore how too much screen time can harm your child’s eyes.
Digital Eye Strain
Penn Medicine reports that one of the most common consequences of prolonged screen exposure is digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome. When children spend extended periods in front of screens, their eyes are constantly focusing and refocusing, causing eye muscles to become fatigued.
Symptoms of digital eye strain include eye discomfort, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes. Over time, if not addressed, these symptoms can escalate, leading to chronic eye strain and discomfort.
Get your kid to take regular breaks to avoid digital eye strain. On top of that, make sure they’re not exposed to prolonged periods of screentime.
Reduced Blink Rate and Dry Eyes
Staring at screens for extended periods can lead to reduced blink rates, as children tend to blink less frequently when engrossed in digital activities. Blinking is crucial because it helps distribute a protective layer of tears across the surface of the eye. When blink rates drop, the eyes become more susceptible to dryness and irritation, which can lead to discomfort and redness.
To combat dry eyes, encourage your child to be mindful of their blinking while using screens. If they’re suggested to use eye drops, avoid using brands like EzriCare. According to TorHoerman Law, the EzriCare eye drops can cause eye infection and vision loss, among other eye injuries. Many people also had to have their eyes completely removed because of the bacterial infection from using EzriCare.
All this led to the filing of the EzriCare Artificial Tears lawsuit. Here, the victims are looking to seek compensation from the manufacturers of EzriCare for their losses. This lawsuit should serve as a reminder to be extremely careful when administering your child with eye drops. Double-check with your doctor and the FDA to make sure that the prescribed drops are safe to use, especially on children.
Blue Light Exposure
Excessive blue light exposure, especially at night, can disrupt circadian rhythms and interfere with sleep patterns, leading to sleep deprivation in children. Prolonged exposure to blue light can also contribute to digital eye strain and increase the risk of long-term eye damage.
To protect your child’s eyes from excessive blue light, consider investing in blue light-filtering screen protectors or glasses. Encourage your child to avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime to ensure better sleep quality and maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.
According to the Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, there is growing concern that excessive screen time is contributing to the increasing prevalence of myopia in children. Myopia causes distant objects to appear blurry. Research suggests that spending more time indoors, engaging in excess screen time, and less time spent outdoors may all contribute to myopia development.
To mitigate the risk of myopia, encourage your child to spend more time outdoors. Also, get them to engage in activities that involve looking at distant objects and take regular breaks from screen time. Regular eye exams with an optometrist can help monitor your child’s eye health and address myopia if it develops.
Increased Risk of Digital Devices and Screen Addiction
Excessive screen time can contribute to digital device addiction, a phenomenon where children become overly reliant on screens for entertainment and social interaction. This addiction not only leads to sedentary behavior but also reduces the time children spend engaging in outdoor activities and exercising their eyes naturally. Consequently, this can increase the risk of various eye problems, including myopia and obesity.
To prevent digital device addiction and its associated eye health risks, set clear screen time limits for your child. Help them seek more pleasure in outdoor activities so that they grow out of their dependencies on digital devices.
In today’s digital age, screens are an undeniable part of our children’s lives. While they provide educational and entertainment opportunities, excessive screen time can harm their eyes in various ways, including the ones discussed above. Thus, it’s crucial for parents and caregivers to be proactive in managing their child’s screen time and promoting healthy eye habits.