In this day and age, it seems kids are spending more and more time on their smartphones and tablets, but do we know how much damage this is doing to their eyesight?
Well, unfortunately as the IPhone was only introduced in 2007, there isn’t much research behind the correlation, however short sightedness in children has doubled in the UK over the past 50 years and technology could be to blame.
With children under the age of 3 spending an average of 44 minutes a day on tablets and with children getting their first phone at the age of 5, it is no wonder kid’s eyes are struggling.
How can we protect our children’s eyes
In a recent study it has shown that the main reason for kids developing short sightedness (also known as myopia) is due to the lack of sunlight they receive.
With children spending more time indoors and less outdoors, they are lacking in exposure of sunlight, which is highly beneficial to them. In an ideal world, a child will need to spend two hours a day outside in order to protect their eyesight.
Here are other ways in which you can protect your children’s eyes:
Restrict their screen time.
Follow the 20-20-20 rule. This means after every 20 minutes of screen time; spend 20 seconds focusing on something about 20 feet away.
Encourage your children to blink more when they are using screens.
Use a screen protector that filters blue light. On some new technologies there are options to apply a blue light filter.
Attend regular eye check-ups.
Teach them the dangers of staying on their devices for too long.
How to tell if your child is struggling
If your child doesn’t outright say to you that they are struggling with their eyesight, here are a few signs to look out for:
Squinting to see objects that are fairly close to them.
Can’t see the whiteboard at school.
Moving closer to the TV to see it.
Complaining of headaches and tired eyes.
If you are worried about your child’s eyesight, it is highly recommended that you take them to an optician as soon as possible. All NHS eye sight tests are free for children up to the age of 16.