It is back-to-school time which means many forms to be filled out! Do you have your medical forms up to date? We always update our kids’ files during their annual check up with the pediatrician during the school year, however, I’ve been a slacker with a very important medical check up.
My kids have never seen an optometrist. They have participated in the school eye screenings but never a comprehensive eye exam. Eye exams are essential for identifying vision problems, including digital eye strain (from using electronic devices). The American Optometric Association recommends annual eye exams for kids over 3 years old. Honestly, I had no idea, so I’m adding this to my back-to-school list!
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How much time does your child spend on digital devices? 83% of kids between the ages of 10-17 us their electronic devices 3+ hours a day! 60% of parents surveyed thought that number was way lower. We set limits on all screen time for our children including the computer, cell phones, game systems, and the TV. Our TV allows us to set a time limit and then it will turn off, we keep ours at 2 hours a day. It isn’t as easy with all the other electronic devices.
When kids are back in school, their screen time will increase with in-class projects, computer labs, homework, time on their phones/electronic devices on bus rides, etc. This can quickly lead to digital eye strain that a trip to the optometrist can catch.
Of the kids surveyed, 80% said they experience burning, itchy, tired eyes after using the devices for long periods of time. Of course they have no idea that these are symptoms of digital eye strain which could also cause headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision, or head and neck pain.
Optometrists are even concerned about the long term affect these high-energy, short-wavelength blue light rays will affect kids eyes.
How to Prevent Digital Eye Strain for Kids and Adults
- 20-20-20 Rule
While using electronic devices, take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and focus on something 20 feet away
- Proper Height and Position of Electronic Device
Computer screens should be at eye level about 20-28 inches away from the eyes.
- Reduce Screen Glare
Turn desk/computer away from windows and light sources to prevent glare on screens.
- Reduce Lighting Wattage
The lighting in the room should match that of the computer screen, a dimmer switch can provide flexibility.
- Adjust Font Size
Increase the font size for easier reading with less stain.
- Blink Your Eyes
Prevent dry eyes by remembering to blink frequently.
With back-to-school around the corner, screen time is going to increase for kids. Be prepared by contacting your optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam for your child too. Check out this inforgraphic about kids and digital devices.