Millions of children around the country are still looking at screens to attend school, socialize with friends, and entertain themselves. In fact, a recent survey found that twice as many kids are spending more than four hours a day online during the pandemic than before. Good vision for kids is more important than ever, and Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) reminds parents to make sure their children can see clearly.
How to tell if a child may have a vision problem
Many parents might not know that using computers, phones and tablets for school and fun can negatively affect their children’s vision. Too much screen time can stress a child’s eyes and could affect normal vision development.
In the U.S., one in four schoolchildren has a vision problem significant enough to affect learning. However, kids often don’t ask for the help they need because they don’t know that they can’t see clearly. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look for that could mean a child is having trouble seeing clearly:
- Sitting too close to the TV
- Holding a book or digital device too close
- Complaining of headaches or tired eyes
- Squinting or tilting the head to see better
- Rubbing eyes frequently
Everyone’s eyes need a break
Fortunately, there are things parents can do to give their kids’ eyes a break from all of the screen time. For example, follow the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, have a child look up at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
A fun way to give everyone’s vision a break is to spend time outside, and EVF has fun outdoor activities for the whole family. Being outside is also good for the eyes, as people are exposed to UV-B sun rays which help circulate vitamin D in the body to protect the eyes and slow the development of nearsightedness in kids.
Children rely on their parents to be advocates for their vision care. EVF urges parents to make eye health a priority by scheduling an appointment with an eye doctor to ensure their kids can see clearly.