Tips to Protect Your Child’s Eye Health | Facts About Digital Eye Strain. 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.
Tips to Protect Your Child’s Eye Health | Facts About Digital Eye Strain
Computers. Smartphones. Video Games. What do all of these devices have in common?
My son. He uses them all. And as we enter the 2014 School Year, I know that digital devices will play a big role in his Kindergarten year and for many years to come. But as useful and FUN as digital devices can be for learning, there’s also many risk that pose a threat to our little one’s eyes, including a new condition to the field, Digital Eye Strain. How can we as parents protect our children’s eye health? Check out the tips below and be informed how Digital Eye Strain can affect our kids.
Have you seen this latest infographic from the American Optometric Association? The results may shock you!
Technology is ever present in our homes and on the rise in schools. And even with this big climb, parents grossly underestimate the time their kids spend on digital devices. I couldn’t believe when I saw that according to a recent AOA study, 83% of children between the ages of 10 – 17 years old, estimate use of digital devices of 3+ hours per DAY! In a separate study, only 40% of parents thought their kids were using electronic devices for that same amount of time. Optometrists are getting increasingly concerned about the types of digital devices we use and the kinds of light they give off – high-energy, short-wavelength blue light – and how these different types of light are affecting our eye health, even the age of our eyes. 80% of children reported itchy, burning and tired eye symptoms after use of digital devices, all known symptoms of Digital Eye Strain.
What is Digital Eye Strain? It’s a temporary vision condition caused by prolonged usage of digital devices and technology. Signs and symptoms include headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision and possible head/neck pain.
As a mom, the thought of blurred/double vision for my son is a scary thought! With his vision already at risk for near-sightedness (thanks to both mom and dad’s genes), I want to ensure that my son’s eyes are protected as much as possible and are as healthy as possible. But Digital Eye Strain is a growing concern here in the U.S. So what can we do? Here’s some tips from the AOA as we enter the 2014 Back-to-School Year:
Check the height and position of your digital device
You may not realize this, but your computer screen should be 4 to 5 inches BELOW eye level and between 20 28 inches away from the screen. Go on and check. Is your computer monitor at the right height? Digital devices should also be held at a safe distance away from the face and slightly below eye level.
Check the glare on the screen
Keep your screen away from windows or any direct lighting. This can cause a glare across your screen, making your eyes strain even more to focus. Consider adjusting the brightness on your screen, changing your background color and turning your desk away from direct lighting
Reduce the amount of lighting in the room
Your lighting in your room should match that of your screen. Consider getting a lower wattage overhead bulb or installing a light dimmer.
Adjusting the font size
This is a bad habit of mine. I tend to squint to see small fonts, instead of adjusting the screen size. Be sure to increase the text size on your screen to avoid the extra strain.
Blink. Blink. Blink!
Be sure to keep blinking often to help prevent dry eye from occurring.
The 20-20-20 Rule
Protecting your kids’ eyes Digital Eye Strain is so important! Taking frequent breaks is imperative to eye protection. A great mnemonic to remember from the AOA is the 20-20-20 rule. Kids should take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to view something that is 20 feet away.
Yearly Eye Exams
When was the last time your child visited an optometrist? Did you know that the American Optometric Association recommends children visiting EVERY year, starting at the age of 3 years old? Even better, children now have the benefit for yearly comprehensive eye exams thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Health Act, up to the age of 18 years. This is something that is super important to my family, especially with the history between my husband and me.
We have been taking advantage of getting my son’s eyes checked our local optometrist every year. It’s so important to stay on top of his vision baseline, any changes and watch for signs and symptoms of near-sightedness. I unfortunately didn’t receive glasses until almost one year after noticing that I couldn’t see the blackboard anymore. That’s one whole year that I could have been protecting my eyes! Now at age 30-something :), I realize how important it is to save the eye health we have. We only have 2 eyes, I can definitely do my best to protect my child’s health, down to his pretty brown eyes.
Looking for more tips to protect your child’s eye health? Visit the AOA Website for more information. Stay connected via Facebook and Twitter.
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Katy Rawson says
I have never heard of the 20-20-20 Rule before, but it makes a lot of sense. I will see to it that we all practice that rule from now on. I also did not know that reducing the light in the room is necessary. We love our technology around here. I am now better informed about protecting my kids eyes. Thank you.