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Introduction Edit

Does Staring At Screens Ruin Your Eyes?03:11

Does Staring At Screens Ruin Your Eyes?

Computer technology has become a part of child’s everyday life. There is at least one computer in 97% of American classrooms [1] and 40% of teachers use computers for giving instructions. Outside school, children use computers for leisure activities. Parents are becoming more concerned about children’s vision as children’s screen time increases. Today, one third of parents are concerned that use of electronic devices and hand-held devices may damage their children’s vision. This could actually happen when children use electronic devices without being aware of themselves or their surroundings.

Different kinds of vision problems experienced by children Edit

Computer Vision Syndrome(CVS) is a term used to describe eye problems caused by screens. When children stare at screens for long periods of time, eye fatigue may result in eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and trouble seeing far objects. However, those symptoms go away when children stop using computers. About 50%-90% of people who work at computers have some symptoms of eye problems. However, there are several reason for not noticing such symptoms in children. Children have limited degree of awareness. When they are excited about the games they are playing, the television programs they are watching, they tend to ignore their pain or discomfort. Simply, pain becomes unnoticeable to the child. Next, they are very adaptable. When their vision get blurred or eyes become dry, they believe it is normal and that is how everyone feels.[2] If children are frowning at the screen or rubbing eyes, they are signs of eye strain.

Steps to avoid problems caused by electronic devices Edit

Parents should understand how to avoid vision problems caused by electronic devices. There are several steps that you can take to avoid such problems. First, place the screens about 20 to 28 inches away from children’s eyes. Next, align the top of the screen to be slightly below their eye level. This step would allow them to look down at the screen with a 15 degree angle. This would in turn allow them to comfortably view the screen. It is also important to reduce glare on the screen to avoid eye problems. Therefore, using low watt bulbs and using blinds to block sunlight helps achieve this solution. Next, remind them to blink regularly to avoid eye irritation.

Another important step is 20-20-20 rule. The rule is for every 20 minutes on screen, stare at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. [3] If you want good screen habits in your child, implement this in their routine. Also, it is important to keep leisure screen time to be less than two hours a day. This would also give children more time to play outside which researchers found to be helpful in reducing nearsightedness in children. It is also good for their physical well-being. Take your children to eye exams every year to make sure their vision is normal. Finally, as a parent or a guardian, knowing about eye problems and steps that you could take to avoid them will help you prevent harm done to your children's eyes by electronic devices.

Sources: Edit

  1. Conaway, Brenda. “Children’s Vision and the New Classroom Technology.” WebMD. WebMD, 30 July 2012. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. <http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/features/vision-classroom-technology>.
  2. " “Impact of Computer Use on Children’s Vision.” American Optometric Association. Web. 27 Oct. 2014. <http://www.aoa.org/optometrists/tools-and-resources/clinical care-publications/environmentaloccupational-vision/computer-use-needs/impact-of-computer-use-on-childrens-vision?sso=y>.
  3. “How Digital Devices Affect Your Child’s Eyes.” SpecialNeeds.com. Web. 9 Oct. 2014. <http://www.specialneeds.com/activities/general-special-needs/how-digital-devices-affect-your-childs-eyes>.

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