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Your Healthy Family: Kids' vision issues may be from classroom screen time

Posted at 7:51 AM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-06 07:51:36-04

Eye doctors are seeing more vision problems in kids, and say a rise in screen time in the classroom means parents need to cut back on screen time at home.

Technology is a big part of how students learn, which means hours of screen time in school. And doctors say that’s hurting their sight.

"More children are having nearsightedness, and that nearsightedness seems to be increasing in the degree, or the amplitude, or how bad their nearsightedness is," Dr. Evan Silverstein, a Pediatric Opthalmologist, said.

He said balancing time online prevents vision changes. He’s encouraging students to use the "20-20-20 rule."

"Every 20 minutes that a child is on a device, they take a 20 second break and look 20 feet away. Along with those 20s, trying to keep their device about 2 feet away from their face so they're not constantly straining to see really close up front," he said.

Dr. Bergen Nelson, a Pediatrician, said too much time with technology can impact a child’s sleep and cause focus problems in class.

"Two hours before you want to be asleep, you should not have any screens in front of your eyes because that blue light affects your melatonin cycle, and makes your brain think it's daytime, even though it's time to go to bed," she said.

She said it’s really important for parents to make sure their kids put down the devices when they get home from school.

"Limiting screen time to school-related activities. So for my children, I've said when they come home from school, they have to be off of their iPads or switches. I want them to be outside as long as the weather's good and have that break from screen time," Dr. Nelson said.