The more demands there are on a young person’s eyes, the more variables parents have to factor in when considering their child’s pediatric eye care.
Once upon a time, the biggest issue was ensuring children did not spend too much time sitting in front of the television. Nowadays, so many areas of a young person’s life requires screens that it is next to impossible to eliminate them entirely – especially when those screens are needed for school. As technology moves into the classroom and learning transitions to online environments, children are spending a larger portion of their time completing assignments and absorbing lessons on computers. Moreover, the presence of so many alternate forms of entertainment – social media, computer games, and more – makes it difficult to focus on the task at hand, further amplifying the time it takes to finish such tasks.
Finally, the age at which children receive electronic devices and smartphones keeps getting younger and younger. As more of their classmates gain access to such technology, parents feel guilty not purchasing these devices for their kids too. The best strategy is to teach your kids moderation.
What Is Computer Vision Syndrome?
Not to be mistaken with the chain of drug stores, computer vision syndrome, which is also known as CVS, occurs in individuals who spend prolonged periods of time in front of screens. Symptoms of computer vision syndrome include eye fatigue, neck pain, dry eyes, headaches, itchy and irritated eyes, and blurry vision. Children are at risk of it because of the prevalence of video games, web activity, and smartphone usage, but people can develop computer vision syndrome at a number of ages. Adults who work in professions that require a lot of computer usage – journalists, accountants, analysts – also have a heightened chance of getting computer vision syndrome. It’s believed to mostly affect people who spend more than three hours a day on a computer.
How Can Parents Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome?
Limit Computer and Screen Time
This is the most obvious step to take, but it can be very difficult to implement. It is unrealistic to expect to completely eliminate electronic devices from your child’s life, but you can practice preventative pediatric eye care by encouraging them to participate in activities in the “real” world, either by going outside to play or participating in sports. One of the convenient things about the internet is that you can click around until you find something that interests you from the comfort of your bed or desk chair. Real world entertainment can be engaging – it just takes a little effort to find the activity that you are interested in. Try and encourage your children to participate in sports or any kind of interpersonal activity that would diversify their forms of entertainment.
Implement “Eye Breaks” During Screen Time
Another useful practice for your child’s pediatric eye care is teaching them to take eye breaks while using an electronic device. The great thing about this strategy is that it does not require completely giving up whatever activity they are participating in. Instead, it teaches them to take a proactive role in their own eye care. One method suggested by ophthalmologists is the 20-20-20 rule. After 20 minutes of screen time, you take a 20-minute break where you look at something at least 20 feet away.
See Your Eye Doctor for Regular Eye Exams
Regular eye exams are perhaps the most important thing you can do for your child’s pediatric eye care. An eye exam with one of our specialists at Eye Associates of Tallahassee can determine whether your child’s eyesight is worsening. This allows your ophthalmologist to prescribe corrective lenses that can ensure your child does not develop headaches or additional strain from struggling to see.
At Eye Associates of Tallahassee we are committed to providing quality care to both you and your children. Stop by today to book an appointment with a dedicated pediatric eye care specialist!