I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for the American Optometric Association. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
How many hours does your child spend each day looking at a digital device? A recent survey done by the American Optometric Association (AOA) reveals that only 40% of parents think their child uses a digital device more than 3 hours per day, while 83% of kids say they spend more than 3 hours per day on a digital device.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to get out a timer and really pay close attention to the amount of time my kids sit in front of a screen. I am a big fan of using technology in school and at home for educational and entertainment purposes. But kids heading back to school will be spending even more time looking at electronic devices. And too much screen time can affect their vision.
It’s Time for Back-To-School Eye Exams!
Back-to-school season can be a busy time for most families, but it can also be a great time to remember to schedule your child’s annual visit to the eye doctor. The AOA recommends every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after six months of age, before age three and every year thereafter.
Some kids may show signs that they need glasses, others may not. I have friends who did not realize their child needed to wear glasses until they went in for a regular checkup at the eye doctor. Don’t feel guilty if that happens to you – just help spread the word that back-to-school eye exams are important for children.
What is Digital Eye Strain?
Digital Eye Strain is a temporary vision condition caused by prolonged use of technology. Symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. If your child complains of itchy, burning and/or tired eyes after long periods of device use, it could be Digital Eye Strain.
Parents and educators can reduce prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain and exposure to “blue light” (the light given off by everyday electronic devices) by practicing the 20-20-20 Rule:
Take a 20 second break – Every 20 minutes – Look at something 20 feet away
Optometrists are increasingly concerned about the negative effects blue light can have on the eyes and vision. Yearly comprehensive eye exams by an eye doctor are essential to identifying the signs and symptoms associated with digital eye strain and other vision problems. Children up through 18 now have the benefit of annual eye exams, thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Act.
5 Ways to reduce or prevent eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain and exposure to blue light. (Recommendations from The American Optometric Association.)
- Check the height and position of the device. Computer screens should be four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held a safe distance away from eyes and slightly below eye level.
- Check for glare on the screen. Windows or other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of a computer monitor. If this happens, turn the desk or computer to prevent glare on the screen. Also consider adjusting the brightness of the screen on your digital device or changing its background color.
- Reduce the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen. A lower-wattage light can be substituted for a bright overhead light or a dimmer switch may be installed to give flexible control of room lighting.
- Adjust font size. Increase the size of text on the screen of the device to make it easier on your eyes when reading.
- Keep blinking. Frequent blinking reduces the chances for developing dry eye by keeping the front surface of the eye moist.
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How many hours per day does your child spend looking at electronic devices? Does your child wear glasses? Have you scheduled your child’s back-to-school eye exam?