Only half of the parents recognise that screen time is linked to their child’s eye health, according to a national poll by the University of Michigan Health. The poll surveyed 2,002 parents of children between the ages of three and 18 across America in April.
“Many parents may not be aware of both the short and long-term health issues linked to excessive screen time, including its effect on children’s eyes,” said poll co-director Sarah Clark, MPH.
“Our findings suggest that some parents have inaccurate perceptions of activities that affect their child’s eye health and vision and how to minimise the risk.”
The rate of nearsightedness in children rapidly increased in the last 30 years, most likely due to easily accessible technology among children., according to Study Finds.
“Some parents may still follow advice from past generations on protecting kids’ eyes,” Clark said. “Reading in poor light or sitting close to the TV can cause eye fatigue or strain, but they will not do any permanent damage or cause long-term eye problems.”
Among the parents surveyed, fewer than a third said their children wear glasses that block blue light — which impacts the brain’s “internal clock” and makes falling asleep more challenging.
Researchers recommend that everyone, including children, should shut down their screens at least an hour before bedtime.
“Children should get vision tests at least every two years to make sure eyes are developing properly,” Clark concludes. “It’s important to identify and treat vision problems as early as possible, because undiagnosed issues can lead to serious eye conditions in the future, including permanent vision loss.”