How much time should my child spend looking at a screen?

A common worry from parents is the amount of time their child is spending on a mobile device like a phone or tablet, or a laptop/computer. Here are some common concerns:

What is digital eye strain?
Digital eye strain happens when a lot of time is spent using your near vision, like when using a phone or tablet, or if you're sat infront of a laptop or computer scteen. It doesn't cause permanent damage to your eyes but can often be uncomfortable. The main symptom is temporary blurred vision but other signs such as sore / tired eyes, dry eyes and headaches can also happen due to eye strain.

Can blue light damage my child’s eyes?
There is currently no scientific evidence that blue light causes damage to peoples eyes. There is, however evidence to suggest that carrying out an over abundance of near tasks, such as using mobile devices, screen time and reading a book, can increase eye strain for people who do this for long periods of time.

Can blue light filtered lenses help prevent this?
There is no evidence that these kinds of coatings prevent eye disease. Some people have reported that lens coatings that can filter blue light make their eyes feel more comfortable - but there is no scientific evidence to support this.

Is there a link between screen usage time and short sightedness?
Short-sightedness, or myopia, is increasing throughout the modern world. Family history, ethnic background, environment (such as living indoors, in towns and cities) and carrying out near tasks, such as mobile device use, have all been linked to the development of myopia. There is good evidence to suggest that children who spend more time outdoors are at lower risk of developing short-sightedness.

Keep your child's eyes healthy:

1. Get them outdoors – regular play and exercise can help prevent or reduce the development of myopia (short-sightedness). Studies show two hours of outdoor activity a day is ideal.

2. Use night settings - If your device has them, this may help children sleep by reducing the amount of blue light given off by the screen during night-time hours.

3. Make sure digital devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime.

4. Book your child in for a sight test every two years, from the age of three, or more often if required.

For more information or to book your child for a sight test, please get in touch: 01924 373697