Back to School Tips for Healthy Vision for 2022
Updated August 2022
Between TV screens, laptops, tablets, and smart phones, kids are spending four to six hours a day watching digital screens (according to The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). Healthy eyes are an essential part of your child’s ability to learn in the classroom and at home. The last thing you want to worry about is if your child can see the lesson that is being taught. For this reason, we have compiled the top three back to school tips to promote healthy vision for kids.
Chop your devices
Okay, not literally.
Let’s start teaching our kids early good device habits. It is increasingly more difficult these days to limit the amount of screen time your child has, but we can learn good device habits to prevent the harm of excess screen time.
Using the 20-20-20 rule we can use our screen devices as follows: every 20 minutes look away from the screen, look at something approximately 20 feet away, and look for about 20 seconds.
Enough is enough (Limit screen time)
Let’s not get overly dramatic over here, but reducing screen time when possible is a great way to reduce potential excessive screen time exposure. It isn’t enough to say we are taking frequent breaks while using our devices because let’s face it, some of these digital devices are addictive. It is the addictive properties and the intense focus and concentration that can be particularly harmful during extended periods of time. You may have already experienced some symptoms of prolonged screen time like: dry eyes, headaches, double vision, and trouble sleeping. Children should take a break from screen time and go outside, run around, and get a little dirty once in a while.
Limit blue light exposure before bed
A CDC report says 34.9% of kids aren’t getting enough sleep at night. A contributing factor to this could be the amount of blue light exposure prior to bed time. Doctors recommend that as adults, we should avoid screen exposure (TV, computer, tablet, or cell phones) 1-2 hours before bed. This applies to children as well. The blue light inhbits the release of melatonin in the body and keeps our body artificially awake – it tells our brain that it is “day time” and we need to be functional so it doesn’t allow us to go into “rest mode”. If our bodies aren’t in rest mode before bed, it will affect the quality of our sleep. Children need good quality sleep to grow and develop properly. So much more is happening than just resting for children as they sleep. The amount and quality of their sleep will affect their cognitive and emotional abilities. Helping them get that restorative sleep they need is crucial for healthy development.
Important take aways
It doesn’t matter how old you are, these vision tips will help keep your eye’s performing at their best. Remember to give your child breaks during long focused sessions. Make sure to limit their screen time and leave room in their schedule to experience the outdoors activities. Lastly, as they wind down from their busy kid day make sure to establish good sleeping habits by limiting their screen time before bed. Good habits are easy to maintain when good habits are formed from the start.