Published on: 29 Mar, 2021
The increase in the use of computer screens (phones, tablets and laptops) at a younger and younger age is causing a common eye condition to progress more rapidly than ever before. Nearsightedness (myopia) causes blurriness far-away, and higher levels of myopia create extreme levels of dependence on glasses or contact lenses. Also, higher levels of myopia are related to increased levels of eye disease such as retinal detachment, glaucoma and certain types of macular degeneration.
A study done at the University of Waterloo showed that the percentage of myopia in school-age kids was almost 5 times greater in 11-13 year olds vs. 6-8 year olds. Another study showed a relationship between time spent outdoors and the development of myopia – more time spent outdoors delayed the onset of myopia in children. We also know that the later the onset of myopia, the less severe the level of myopia tends to be throughout life.
We recommend the following to help reduce the negative effects of screen time on your child’s eye health:
· Encourage children to play outside as often as possible.
· Have children’s eye examined by an optometrist by the age of 6-9 months, 2-5 years and annually 6-19 years.
· Zero exposure to screens for children 0-2 years.
· Limit the use of screens to 1 hour per day until the age of 9 years.
· Breaks no later than after 60 minutes of use (after 30 minutes is encouraged)
Source: Canadian Association of Optometrists; https://opto.ca/health-library/playing-outdoors-can-help-maintain-childrens-eyesight