Online learning has its pros and cons, but the increased screen time can have a detrimental effect on a child’s eyes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help minimize the impact of prolonged screen time.

Common Vision Issues Related to Screen Time

a young girl wearing headphones and holding a pencil stares into a computer screen

Time spent in front of video games, televisions, computers, tablets, and phones can take a toll on a child’s vision. The blue light that projects off digital devices can damage certain tissues within the eyes. When the wavelengths of blue light penetrate the eyes, it can cause even more problems within the eye than the sun’s ultraviolet light. Some common problems related to screen time include:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Dry eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Scratchy eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes

Tips to Help Kids

For many families, remote learning is an unavoidable fact of life, especially during a global pandemic. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce the effects of screen time on your child’s eyes. These include:

  • Position screens from light: Ensure your child isn’t sitting too close to the screen and check the lighting in the room. The screen should be perpendicular to major light sources to prevent glare and backlighting into your child’s eyes. This means there shouldn’t be a light behind your child, and the computer should not face a window.
  • Wear blue light-blocking glasses: Try wearing special glasses that filter blue light. There are many types and styles available.
  • Apply screen filters: Screen filters can block the blue light wavelengths that emit from digital devices.
  • Teach the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second screen break and stare at an object about 20-feet away. During this quick break, encourage your child to blink frequently to counteract the effects of prolonged staring at screens.
  • Take physical breaks: When it’s time for a longer-than-20-second break, encourage your child to engage in a physical activity instead of playing video games or watching videos. These activities can include jumping jacks, jump rope, sit-ups, or just chasing the family dog around the house.
  • Get eye exams: Comprehensive eye exams can diagnose issues and evaluate overall wellness. Even small uncorrected problems can lead to eyestrain and inhibit concentration and focus.

Contact our Loveland Ophthalmologist

To arrange an eye exam for your child, please contact Kirk Eye Center today online or at 970-669-1107. We serve patients in Loveland, Fort Collins and throughout Northern Colorado.

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