The pandemic has and continues to cause unprecedented changes all around the globe, including your child’s education. With everything going remote, your children are now spending more time studying from home through laptops and mobile devices. This necessary evil drastically increases their screen time and potential ophthalmic issues. Screen time has universally never been a favorite topic among parents. There is a whole lot of disagreement on its effects on children’s eyes in the long term and therefore its utility. Unlike before when you could limit your child’s screen time, online education now makes it more challenging to bring about any restrictions. To give you a refresher, here’s an article that discusses digital eye strain on kids, its symptoms, and your role as a caring parent to overcome and prevent this ongoing problem.
Digital Eye Strain
Digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, is described as a cluster of ocular and vision-related complications that are a direct result of prolonged use of screen devices such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets. Although this strain is usually caused due to excessive use of devices, it can also be caused due to improper distance of the eyes from the screen (1).
Adverse Effects Of Excessive Screen Time On Our Eyes
Screen use has several side effects, some of the common ones are (2):
- Eye Fatigue
Always remember, eyes are a muscle, and overuse is bound to cause some form of exhaustion. Eyes tend to get fatigued due to excessive strain. School going children who are now spending more time looking at screens trying to concentrate are developing headaches and irritation in the eyes. To further contribute to this problem, a dimly lit room may also cause your child to squint and irritate their eyes.
- Blurry Vision
Prolonged exposure to a digital screen can cause blurry vision. The eyes have difficulty in focusing due to which the children may face blurry sight.
- Dry Eyes
Dry eyes are one of the most common symptoms of eye strain. As the eye loses lubrication, it reduces the blinking rate which in turn reduces moisture, causing more dryness.
- Associated Symptoms
Associated symptoms include neck and shoulder pain due to poor seating arrangements.
Parents Role In Eye Care For Children
As a parent, you can play a major role in deciding your child’s lifestyle and improving it. Especially during COVID-19 when you have more time to spend with your kids and be more involved in their life. Here are a few things you could do:
- Snooze Devices
Parents are advised to put a time limit on the use of digital devices. This makes sure that the children are productive while using the device and won’t go overboard with it.
- Reward Good Behavior With Off-Screen Alternatives
Like any other positive reinforcement plans that have worked for you, apply it here too! Reward your children for good behavior, for staying away from screens on their own accord.
- Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is essential for kids while growing up. Make sure you include nutrients such as omega-3, fatty acids, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin E. They all help in maintaining healthy eyes. A perfect meal would have green leafy vegetables, fish, eggs, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits and juices.
- Position Training
The position of your laptop and your body matters a lot! Maintaining a safe distance from the screen will help protect your child’s eyes and overall health. A simple rule to follow is the 1/2/10 rule—1 foot distance from a mobile phone, 2 feet from other small-screen devices, and 10 feet from televisions.
- Lighting In The Limelight
Adjust the room lighting, keep it study friendly when the kids are studying. Make sure they aren’t squinting, which is usually the first sign of bad lighting.
- Regular Eye Screening
As a parent, schedule regular eye screening appointments for your children. A usual period of six months is recommended. Also, keep an eye out for light filtering glasses.
Tips To Prevent Eye Damage
Here are some things that you can do to make sure that your kids’ eyes don’t get damaged:
- Devices should be shut one hour before sleep time.
- Include a more active playtime.
- Make sure children play outdoors and exercise.
- Encourage children to blink a little extra.
- Limit the use of recreational screen time.
Being a parent is a full-time job, and requires supervision and intervention in all aspects of their children’s life including screen time. Lucky for you, we’ve given you all the information you need to prevent eye damage from screen time. All you have to do is, create a schedule for your children and follow it!