3 Things You Should Always Do and 1 You Should Never Regarding Your Child's Eye Health
With kids spending even more time in front of screens — and addiction becoming a problem among both children and adults — we decided to take a few pointers from optometrist Dr. Barbara Horn to make sure our kids have healthy eyes.
Dr. Horn said, "Handheld devices and computers give off high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light, which causes eye strain and discomfort and prematurely ages the eye." So the closer our kiddos are to the screens and the more time spent on them, the more damage is done.
With devices not going anywhere anytime soon, read on to find out three things you and your family should always do and one thing you should never do when it comes to screens and eye health.
Always Follow the 20/20/20 Rule
This rule is recommended to everyone by the American Optometric Association (AOA) and states that when working on a device like a computer or tablet, look away every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, about 20 feet out. It relaxes your eyes and gives you a reboot when you're spending a lot of time looking at a screen.
- For tablets and phones, hold the device as far away from you as possible.
- For computers, sit at least two feet from the monitor.
Always Keep Your Screen's Brightness Lower Than the Room's Light
You don't want your screen to be brighter than the light of the room you're sitting in, so lower the brightness or change the color to night mode if you're sitting in near darkness. If it's so bright that it's making your eyes uncomfortable, you'll likely be straining, so you might need to take a break or hold the screen further away.
Bonus tip: If you or your child is reading something on the screen, you can make the text a bit larger manually to avoid squinting and straining.
Always Give Your Eyes Some Sun
Getting outside isn't just an excuse to get them off their devices! The sun actually helps the eye grow and develop, so spending some time basking (covered in safe sunscreen, not harmful ones) in its rays is actually beneficial. Just be sure to use proper UVA/UVB eye protection, which can come in the form of adorable kid sunglasses.
Never Neglect Your Yearly Eye Exam!
The AOA recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam every year — for children, their first exam should be done between 6 and 12 months old, and then every year from age 3 on.
A child's eyes change and grow a lot throughout their first year and then steadily through the school years, so make sure that you put "eye exam" on your back-to-school list so that your child goes into the classroom seeing well — you don't want your child damaging their eyes by straining to see the board!
Same thing goes for you, Mom — keep those beautiful eyes healthy with a yearly exam.