A recent poll conducted by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital asked parents of 3-18 year-olds several questions about their children’s eye health. The results showed that despite having some basic knowledge of pediatric eye care, most parents have a great deal more to learn.
For example, only half of all parents believe that excessive screen time negatively affects a child’s eyes, and just 60% of parents set limits on daily screen time.
At Switalski Eye Care, we’re passionate about educating our patients about lifestyle choices that support eye health, including healthy screen time habits.
What Parents Need To Know About Prolonged Screen Time
Prolonged screen time can have both short-term and long-term consequences.
Have you ever noticed that your child’s eyes appear more red and tired after spending considerable time in front of a screen? That’s because staring at a digital screen can lead to digital eye strain and dry eyes.
Digital eye strain causes symptoms like eye fatigue, head and neck pain, blurred vision and eye rubbing to relieve the strained eye muscles.
Moreover, both children and adults tend to blink much less often when looking at a computer, phone or tablet, which can lead to dry eye symptoms. Blinking is a crucial eye function that lubricates the eye and wipes away irritants on its surface.
Excessive screen time is also linked to higher rates of myopia (nearsightedness), which puts your child at a greater risk of developing sight-threatening diseases in adulthood. Children with moderate to high myopia are far more likely to suffer from glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment later in life than their non-myopic peers.
The good news is that you can make certain lifestyle adjustments to support your child’s healthy ocular development.
What Can You Do To Help Your Child?
A good place to start is limiting daily screen time to no more than 1-2 hours per day whenever possible. And while your child is staring at a screen, remind them to take breaks and shift their gaze to distant objects every 20 minutes or so.
Another eye-healthy habit is playing outdoors. Research has shown that children who spend a couple of hours each day outdoors have a lower risk of becoming nearsighted than children who spend more time indoors. Scientists are studying whether the sun’s bright rays or simply looking at faraway objects may have a protective effect on preventing myopia’s development and progression.
Last but not least, the best thing you can do for your child’s eye health is to provide them with regular visits to the optometrist. When it comes to a child’s eyes, catching a problem early is crucial to achieving the best possible results.
Kid’s Eye Exams in East Plano
At Switalski Eye Care, we offer top-notch eye care in our child-friendly facility. Our warm, patient and caring staff will help ensure that your child feels safe and comfortable.
During your child’s comprehensive eye exam, we’ll assess their overall eye health and evaluate their visual acuity, among other visual skills. We’ll happily discuss the results of the examination with you and your child and answer any questions you may have.
To schedule your child’s eye exam, call Switalski Eye Care in East Plano today!
Q: When should kids get eye exams?
- A: A child should have an eye exam by the time they’re a year old, at least once between the ages of 3 and 5, and annually starting in first grade. Your optometrist will recommend the most suitable time for appointments according to your child's eye health, family history of eye problems, and lifestyle.
Q: How can you help your child keep their glasses on?
- A: If your child needs to wear glasses and struggles to keep them on, the following may help. Ask your optometrist about special bands or straps that secure the frames in place. Furthermore, allowing your child to choose the glasses they like and feel comfortable in will encourage them to keep them on throughout the day. Offer your child rewards or incentives for keeping their eyewear in place and make sure they wear their glasses regularly. Contact us today with any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and to schedule their eye exam!
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