A big question that parents have been asking us is: “Are too many video games bad for my child’s eyes”? Optometrists generally agree that video games and some screen time are not likely to harm your child’s vision IF you follow a few viewing tips. Being in front of a screen for long stretches of time can leave your child’s eyes feeling dry, strained and fatigued and they could be forcing their eyes to work harder to maintain a clear image when viewing the screen. Even children with perfect vision may experience symptoms such as blurred vision, eyestrain and headaches while playing video games.
To help ease the stress of video games on your child’s eyes, consider the following tips:
Make playrooms eye-friendly by reducing glare and offering soft overall lighting.
Keep video screens free of fingerprints and dust, as both can reduce vision clarity.
Use the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, encourage your child to take anywhere from a 20 second to a 20 minute break and to focus their eyes on something at least 20 feet away. This will give their eyes a much-needed break and reduce some of the symptoms mentioned earlier.
Remind them to blink. Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute, but when we’re in front of a screen, we only blink 5 times per minute? That can add up to dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by reminding your child to blink.
Discourage playing video games in a dark room. When the room is totally dark, the contrast between the screen and the surrounding area is too great for comfortable and efficient vision. When the room is softly illuminated, undesirable contrast is kept to a minimum.
Encourage your child to sit away from the screen. Though close-up viewing is generally not harmful, viewing at a distance allows for picture details to appear sharper and better defined and the screen lines and defects will be less apparent.
Milton Optometry recommends comprehensive eye exams every year, and welcome infants, toddlers and children of all ages to our family-friendly office! Visit Milton Optometry or phone 905-636-9500 to reserve an appointment for your family.