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Kids and Computer Vision Syndrome

Kids and Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer Vision Syndrome (which is also called Digital Eye Strain) is caused by spending too much time staring at electronic devices such as computers, video games, cell phones, and iPads. Focusing our eyes on a single spot for extended periods of time can cause eye strain, fatigue, and headaches. Since our kids are now spending so much time on computers, iPads, and video games, both at home and at school, they are very susceptible to this common syndrome. Today, an estimated 60 million school-age children use computers and other electronic digital devices on a daily basis, both for education and play. A recent report shows nearly 70% of US adults are experiencing symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. Children can experience many of the same computer vision symptoms as now being found in such a high percentage of adults.

Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

Extensive viewing of any computer or digital device screen can cause a number of symptoms, including:

How to Reduce the Risk in Kids

Since statistics show that 80% of what we learn is through our eyes, it means that Computer Vision Syndrome can have a major impact on a child’s productivity and school performance. Experts agree that focusing on images on a computer screen, or any electronic digital device, causes greater eye fatigue than reading normal print in a book or magazine.

The NIH (National Institute of Health) National Library of Medicine recommends the following to help reduce the risk of kids developing CVS:

Annual Eye Examination This helps insure the child can see clearly and comfortably. Tell the doctor if your child has shown any signs of eye or vision problems, such as squinting, frequent eye rubbing, red eyes, head turns and other unusual postures, or if he or she complains of blurred vision or eye fatigue when reading or using a computer. Avoidance of computer work may also indicate vision problems. For regular computer or electronic digital device users, an eye examination at least once a year is required.

Limit the Amount of Time Spent on Computers and Digital Devices Screen time should be limited to 1 – 2 hours per day for children and adolescents. Instead of playing games on their iPad all day, be sure to encourage kids to go outside and play and give their eyes a break from digital use. Two hours of playing outside each day may actually help your child’s vision as their vision is fully developing. The use of tablets or similar devices is not recommended for children under the age of two.

Follow the “20-20-20” Rule Every 20 minutes take a break from the computer (or any electronic digital device) and spend at least 20 seconds looking at something at least 20 feet away.

Check the Position of the Computer The computer screen should be 20-24 inches (an arm’s length) from your child’s face, and the viewing angle to the screen should be slightly lower than their face. The child’s feet need to touch the floor, so a foot stool may be necessary to support the feet.

Check for Any Glare Coming Off the Screen Windows or other light sources can cause screen glare reflecting back on the eyes. When this occurs, the computer screen should be turned to another direction.

Check Room Lighting In some cases, a dimmer light is preferred instead of the bright overhead light.

Schedule an Eye Exam for You or Your Family

To help maintain healthy vision for you and your family call us today and schedule a comprehensive eye exam.