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How Too Much Screen Time Affects Children’s Eye Health

Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives and as we become more reliant on it, children are being exposed to smart devices at younger ages. Here are some of the dangers of too much screen time on children’s eye health and some tips on how to protect your little one’s vision from these digital devices.


Whether you keep the TV on all day long, or the whole family sits around staring at their smartphones, too much screen time can be very harmful for children’s eye health. The good news? Our Calgary kids eye doctor has some simple and easy tips on how to protect your family’s vision from the harmful effects of these digital devices! 

Here are a few household rules you might want to establish in your home to curb screen time: 

  • No screen time in the car

  • No screens allowed in the bedroom 

  • No digital devices should be used during family meals 

  • No use of electronics during family fun nights 

In addition to this, you might want to consider a digital detox for your whole family. Creating a screen-free night once a week or unplugging for a weekend once a month can be excellent for your whole family’s physical and emotional health, as well as your relationships. 


Our Calgary Eye Doctors Are Available for Eye Care By Appointment 

Our Calgary optometrists are back, fully open, and ready to take care of your entire family’s eye health needs. Whether you require a children’s eye exam, or you have an eye emergency, we are now open for eye care by appointment. 

To continue to keep you safe, our eye doctors are maintaining their COVID-19 safety procedures, including high levels of disinfection in all areas, increased spacing between people in the clinic, and reduced volume of exams per day. 

Want to know more? 

OUR CALGARY OPTOMETRISTS ARE BACK AND READY TO SERVE YOU! 


The Effect of Too Much Screen Time on Children’s Eye Health 

As children’s exposure to screen time rises, many parents wonder just how harmful excessive exposure to such devices can be. On one hand, early exposure to technology might help your child master this tool, which is key to success in this day and age. 

On the other hand, children who are overly immersed in technology and not otherwise challenged can struggle to develop socially, physically, and emotionally. 

Some of the biggest health issues associated with too much screen time are vision related and children who spend too much time on digital devices may experience: 

  1. Increased Risk of Developing Myopia: Exposure to natural daylight is key to developing eyes and studies have found that children who spend more time indoors are more likely to develop nearsightedness. This may be due to the fact that UV light plays an important role in healthy eye development. 

  2. Eye fatigue: Children’s eyes need breaks from close up focus and many young kids can lose track of time when they become absorbed with digital devices. This prolonged close-focus attention causes eye strain and fatigue. 

  3. Dry and irritated eyes: People of all ages tend to blink far less often when concentrating on a screen, which in turn causes the eyes to feel dry and irritated. 

  4. Loss of focus flexibility: When their eyes stay focused close-up for long periods of time, children may find it difficult to adjust to distance vision. This is generally a short-term problem and the eyes will adjust back to their normal flexibility within a few hours. 


How Much Screen Time is Harmful to Children’s Eye Health? 

Depending on your child’s age, there are certain recommendations for the amount of screen time your little one should have. 

  • 18 months or younger: No screen time is still best. The exception, during this time of COVID-19, is live video chat with family. 
  • 18 - 24 months: Limit screen time and avoid solo use. Make sure you choose high quality programming and always watch with your child. 
  • 2-5 years: Limit screen time to one hour a day. Make sure to watch the programme with your child to ensure understanding and application to their world. 
  • 6 years and older: Place consistent limits on the time spent on digital devices and the type of media watched. Don’t let screen time affect your child’s sleep, exercise, or other behaviours. 


Setting Clear Limits on Screen Time For Kids: Tips From Our Calgary Eye Doctor 

Setting limits for the amount of screen time children have is key to their eye health and overall development. Here are some steps you can follow to limit the effect these digital devices have on your child’s well-being: 

  1. Set a limit on daily screen time. Make this very clear to your kids and ensure that you stick to it, no matter what. 
  2. Encourage your child to spend some scree-free time outdoors during the day, when there is a lot of natural light. 
  3. Establish screen-free zones for your family, such as in the car, on the dinner table, or during family night. 
  4. Make the bedrooms screen-free zones when it’s time for bed. 
  5. Model moderate screen use as a parent. You can model a rich, varied, and healthy lifestyle habits that your children will then practice. 
Our Calgary Eye Doctors Are Now Available By Appointment Only


We are happy to announce that our Calgary eye doctors are now available by appointment only. We are continuing to take all necessary precautions to keep our patients, staff, and community safe. We want to thank you for your support and understanding during these trying times and are offering special eye deals including: 

  • 50% off your eye exam with the purchase of a complete pair of eyeglasses 

  • 40% off a complete purchase of eyeglasses for all frontline healthcare workers

To find out more about our great deals, or to book an appointment, contact our team at our Crowfoot Branch (403-547-5417), West Springs (403-242-0999) or Creekside (403-516-2292).


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