Poor eyesight is just one aspect of children’s health that parents worry about. For instance, myopia or nearsightedness is a common eyesight problem in children, affecting nearly 5% of preschoolers, 9% of school-aged children, and about 30% of teens.
Indeed, some children experience eyesight issues due to genetics, but in many children, eyesight problems are a result of unhealthy habits.
Here we’ll list some bad habits that harm your kid’s eyesight and what you can do about them. In addition, we’ll also tell you where you can take your child for vision screening.
Too Much Screen Time
Children now spend more time than ever staring at the screens – on a computer, smartphones, TVs, and other devices. All these screens and screen time can take a significant toll on their eyesight and eye health.
Studies have found that by their teen years, children spend nearly 7 hours a day staring at screen-based media. Staring at screens for prolonged periods of time can cause symptoms such as eye fatigue, dry eye, and blurry vision.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages parents to reduce the screen time of their children as well as do their best to help keep some balance between the digital and real world.
Make sure that there is no digital device in your child’s room during their sleep hours. Remind your children to take frequent breaks during screen time.
The American Optometric Association recommends the 20/20/20 rule for people who stare at the screen most of their day. According to this rule, you should ask your child to look away from the screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object placed at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
Spending most of the time indoors can also adversely affect your kid’s eyesight. Children that spend more time indoors may tend to spend more time looking at screens or reading in the dark, which can both cause eye strain.
It’s best to encourage your child to spend most of the time outdoors playing, climbing, or jogging for better eye coordination and visual clarity.
It may come as a surprise to you that rubbing can also harm your kid’s eyesight. Rubbing puts extra pressure on the eyes, leading to the thinning of the corneas, which can distort vision. This condition is known as keratoconus.
Stop your child from rubbing their eye too often and continuously. If you think your child frequently rubs the eyes due to irritated or dry eyes, talk to their pediatrician.
Skipping Routine Eye Exams
Often, children have vision problems but are too young to effectively communicate this to their parents. This is why regular vision screening is important. Regular vision screening, which is part of a well-child visit, can catch your child’s vision problems early.
During the routine eye exam, if a problem is found, your child’s pediatrician may refer your child to an ophthalmologist who can identify and treat their impaired vision.
Children’s Health in Tampa, FL
If you think your child is having an eyesight problem, see one of our 21 board-certified pediatricians at Children’s Medical Center. Our pediatricians are committed to caring for children of all ages, including adolescents.
Our pediatricians offer vision screening as a part of their routine wellness exam to make sure that your child’s eyes and vision are healthy, as well as educate you on how to protect your child’s vision.