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I still can’t believe that Wyatt will be starting his preschool program this fall. A part of me knows that he will get a lot of help and it will be good for him – but another just wants to hold onto him tightly and pretend he’s still a baby. When Wyatt first started having speech problems we made more of an effort to control the amount of time he was spending in front of the television.

Some times it is just hard to keep track and we slip. A survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA) showed that the actual time  kids spent in front of the television and on digital devices compared to the time parents thought they spent were dramatically different. AOA reported that 83% of kids between ages 10-17 use electronic devices more than 3 hours out of every day. And only 40% of parents thought that their children were using the devices for 3+ hours. This tells us what we said before, as parents – it’s easy to be wayyyy off.



The AOA survey also revealed some other statistics:

  • 80% of kids report to experiencing burning, itching, and tired eyes after using electronic devices for extended periods of time. These are the symptoms of digital eye strain – which happens when you get too much screen time. It can also cause headaches, double vision, head and neck pain, loss of focus, and much more.
  • Concern from professional Optometrists is also on the rise. They are fearful that the light from said devices give off a high-energy, short-wavelength blue light that can be harmful and even age eyes.
  • Your kids need to take breaks and follow the 20-20-20 rule. Take a 20 second break, every 20 minutes and view something from 20 feet away. Meaning, give your eyes something else to focus on to help them re-adjust.

To help prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain and exposure to blue light, the AOA recommends:

  • Check the position of your device. Computer screens should be 4-5 inches below eye level and 20-28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held away from eyes and slightly below eye level.
  • Check the glare. If you’ve got a glare – you’ve got a problem. You should not be able to see other sources of light in your computer monitor. If this is the case, re-adjust until there is no glare. You can also adjust the screen brightness and change background colors around to help with this issue as well.
  • Control your room lighting. Reduce the amount of light in the room to match that of the computer screen.
  • Adjust the font. If you have a larger font your eyes will have an easier time reading, causing less strain.
  • Blink! Frequent blinking helps prevent dry eyes – it’s important to keep the front surface of the eyes moist.

The AOA recommends every child have an eye exam by an optometrist after 6 months old, before age three and every year thereafter. Kids have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams now because of the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Act, through age 18!

Have your kids gotten eye exams?

Do you limit screen time?

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