Why Does Excess Screen Time Raise The Risk Of Nearsightedness In Children And What Can You Do To Stop It?

It's common for children to spend a lot of time on smartphones, tablets, and computers. Unfortunately, all of this screen time can raise a child's risk of developing nearsightedness. Nearsightedness makes it difficult to see far-away objects clearly, and it's a particularly large problem in children because it makes distant text harder to see — being unable to read letters on the whiteboard can impair a child's performance in school. To learn why screen time raises the risk of nearsightedness in children and what you can do to slow down its progression, read on. 

Why Does Excessive Screen Time Lead to Nearsightedness in Children?

Excessive screen time raises the risk that a child will develop nearsightedness because it involves long periods of using close-up, focused vision. Although many people blame brightly lit screens for leading to vision problems, the main problem is that children hold phones and tablets too close to their faces or sit too close to the monitor.

Spending long periods of time focusing on close objects leads to physical changes in the eyes: it causes the eyes to get longer. This increases the distance between the lens of the eye and the retina, which means that light reflected off the lens ends up in front of the retina instead of directly on it, and this results in nearsightedness.

Children are more vulnerable to excessive screen time than adults because they're still growing quickly. A child's eye is more prone to becoming longer as a result of sustained close focus compared to adults.

How Can You Help Slow the Progression of Nearsightedness?

One way that you can slow down the progression of nearsightedness is to limit the time your child spends using a phone, tablet, or computer. When they do use an electronic device, they should try to hold it farther away from their face than they usually do, even if it makes it harder for them to focus on the text on the screen. Your child's main goal is to avoid spending a lot of time focusing on a screen that's close to their face.

You can also schedule an appointment with an optometrist that provides children's eye care. Recently, contact lenses have been developed that help slow the progression of nearsightedness in children, regardless of whether or not it was caused by excessive screen time. These prescription contact lenses catch extra light from the periphery of your child's sight and direct it in front of their retina, which helps slow down the physical changes that come from long periods of close-distance focus. In addition to slowing the progression of nearsightedness, they also correct it like a normal contact lens.

Overall, excessive screen time raises the risk of nearsightedness in children because it can lengthen a child's eyes, and these changes cause nearsightedness. You can reduce the risk or slow the progression of nearsightedness by limiting your child's screen time, and you can also schedule an appointment with a children's eye care clinic that can prescribe special contact lenses designed to slow down the eye elongation that leads to nearsightedness.

Reach out to a local children's eye care service provider for more info.