Keep kids’ eyes safe from screens this summer with these top tips for parents

Post date: 
Monday, 7 August 2017

Amidst fears of screens damaging children’s eyes, optometrists have advised four simple steps to help keep kids’ eyes healthy over the summer holidays.

Recent research has revealed that more than 80 per cent of optometrists have seen parents in the past month who have concerns about screen use damaging their children’s eyes. And with school summer holidays underway, many children will spend the next six weeks glued to their smartphones, tablets or TV screens.

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has advised four simple steps that parents can follow to help keep their children’s eyes healthy this summer.

Tips to keep children’s eyes healthy:

  1. Get them outdoors – regular exercise and play can help prevent or reduce the development of myopia (short-sightedness). Studies have shown that two hours of outdoor activity a day is ideal.
  2. Use night settings – if your digital device has them, this may help children sleep by reducing the amount of blue light given off by the screen during night-time hours (this is because blue light is known to affect sleep patterns).
  3. Switch off – make sure devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime to help children settle down before sleep.
  4. Book a sight test – AOP recommends that children have a sight test every two years (from the age of three), or more often if recommended by an optometrist.

Optometrist and the AOP spokesperson, Ceri Smith-Jaynes, said:

“A big worry for parents is the amount of screen time their children will have over the summer, as watching TV and playing computer games fills up more of their days, as well as their evenings, during the holidays.”

To reassure parents, Smith-Jaynes continued: “There isn’t clear scientific evidence that indicates screen use damages eye health, but we do know that long periods of time carrying out near tasks, like reading on screen, can cause eye strain and other symptoms like dry eye and headaches – so it’s important that children take regular breaks.”

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