We all remember our parents warning us that too much TV could ruin our eyesight. And with kids spending an average of almost 40 hours in front of a computer or television screen today, we may feel the urge to tell them the same.
The truth is, sitting in front of a TV too long won’t hurt their eyes, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. And using a computer, portable DVD player or handheld video game will not cause any permanent damage to your child’s eyesight, either.
More likely, however, is that children may experience eye strain. Help your family develop these healthy habits by encouraging eye-friendly behaviors when children are in front of a screen.
- Adjust the light. Kids should use the computer in a well-lit room. Open blinds to let natural daylight in or use a desk lamp.
- Make them blink. Blinking re-hydrates eyes and keeps them moist. Post a note on the computer screen that says “Wink at me!” to remind kids to blink.
- Break it up. More than 20 minutes in front of any screen without a break is too much. Encourage kids to walk around or at least focus on something in the distance.
- Keep a distance. Eyes are working and focusing hard when they are reading or watching a computer screen. Adjusting a child’s position to be about 25 inches away from the computer screen will give them a break. Also, position a chair so the computer monitor is level with his forehead and the gaze is slightly downward. If your child is squinting at the screen or complains of constant headaches when using the computer, ask your pediatrician or eye doctor about it.