How Does Increased Screen Time Affect Children's Eyes?

How Does Increased Screen Time Affect Children's Eyes?

Nowadays, kids spend more time staring at digital screens, such as mobile devices, TVs, and computers. All that extra screen time can affect your children’s well-being. With all the time your kids spend focusing on screens, whether for leisure or virtual learning, it makes sense to worry about their eye health and vision. 

According to research, kids as young as six months old begin to look at digital screens, such as their parents’ smartphones and tablets. Studies show that they spend nearly seven hours daily using screen-based media by their teens. They might keep watching and playing to the point of eye exhaustion if they are having fun. 


Possible Consequences of Excessive Screen Time 

Unfortunately, many parents do not understand how increased screen time and less time outdoors can impact their children’s eye and vision health. Some of the ways too much screen time can affect your little one’s eyes include:


Eye Fatigue

Eye fatigue, also known as asthenopia, can result from overuse of the eye during periods of prolonged focus on a screen. The screen glare can further strain your eyes, causing eye discomfort, headaches, pain, and vision dimness. Kids with eye fatigue may complain of these symptoms and even lose interest in practical tasks like reading. 

Unfortunately, children tend to focus intensely on their screens, adding to fatigue. Eyes need frequent breaks from close focus. It is easy for kids to lose track of time when whatever they are watching absorbs them. 


Irritated and Dry Eyes

Long stretches of screen use can lead to eye irritation and dryness. Studies show that people blink less often when concentrating on a screen. That can cause the tear film to dry, leading to dry eyes. A stable and clear tear film on the eye’s surface is essential for healthy eyes and clear vision. Dry eyes can be worse for kids who frequently look up at screens positioned for adult use. 



Children who stare at screens are typically indoors. However, it would help to remember that natural daylight benefits developing eyes. Children need to spend sufficient time outdoors for their health and eyesight.

Studies suggest that kids who spend too much time indoors are more likely to develop myopia, also known as nearsightedness. Researchers are still studying the exact process, but many believe UV light plays a vital role in healthy eye development as long as the eyes have sufficient protection from intense sunlight. 


Loss of Eye Flexibility

When kids’ eyes remain focused close-up for extended periods, adjusting to distance vision later can be a bit challenging. However, this is typically a short-term problem since the eyes readjust to their normal flexibility.  



It may not be possible or wise to remove screen time from your children’s lives. After all, they are part of the modern world. Fortunately, you can protect their eyes by teaching them healthy screen use habits and encouraging them to spend more time outdoors. It is also important to schedule regular pediatric eye exams to check for any underlying eye and vision problems.

For more about pediatric eye care, visit Lifetime Vision and Eye Care at our Miami Gardens, Florida office. Call (305) 902-3320 to schedule an appointment today.

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