Computer Vision Syndrome (aka Digital Eye Strain) each year affects more and more children. Vaught Eye Associates released an article urging caution in controlling kids’ screen time, to raise awareness. Screen time, the article notes, stands as a hot button issue in public health. All doctors, and most parents, understand the threat and difficulty of screen time. Some don’t understand some of the health risks outside of addictive behavior, and other mental troubles.
Ways to Fight Back
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule
It’s pretty simple: when you use a digital device, every 20 minutes look at an object 20 or more feet away for at least 20 seconds. This simple little practice acts, essentially, as a reset button. It doesn’t fix the problems of digital eye strain entirely, but it gives you a break and helps you keep going.
- Use settings with lower blue light emission
Most devices now have built in settings allowing you to switch to “night mode” by setting the screen to a “warmer” color palate. Doing so does not eliminate blue light, but limits it considerably
- Seek Alternatives
Where possible, seek out alternatives to devices. For games? Go analog. For books or news? Go paper. For texting or emailing? Try to meet in person, or have a phone call. Not all things can be done off screen, but those that can generally should, for your own good!
Dr. Vaught’s Recommendation for Kids
Ever-increasing screen time leads to ever-increasing susceptibility to the symptoms of digital eye strain. Children, Dr. Vaught notes, report evermore frequently eye fatigue, dry eyes, headaches, and disrupted sleep. Dr. Vaught offers the following advice to combat this painful malady:
- Nothing beats prevention and limitation of access, Dr. Vaught says the best method for kids is to “step away from the screen. Parents are advised to limit kids’ screen time to one to two hours per day.” As noted above, stepping away prevents eye strain most effectively. With children, when parents have control over their schedules, limiting screen time is imminently doable.
The negatives of screen time outweigh the positives for children, almost always. Children can be challenging, and screens can make the difficulty easier for parents to deal with. Other than this, screen time does not beat out other types of activity for children. Screens, in the world we inhabit, will always be necessary to some greater or lesser extent. When they’re not necessary for children, remove them from the equation. Your children’s eyes, and brains, will thank you.
The negative effects of Computer Vision Syndrome, as you know, affect everyone, not just kids. Everyone who regularly uses a screen regularly gets pummeled with harmful blue light. Preventing children from using screens may be the best solution, but sometimes you just can’t step away. Heck, sometimes you can’t even ask your kids to step away (i.e. homework, communication with relatives, etc.). Protecting your eyes, and their eyes, matters. At GUNNAR Optiks, our mission is to do just that. For those times you can’t step away from the screen, put on a pair of GUNNARS and feel the difference.