When tablets were first introduced, many parent’s felt that their dreams had come true. Here was something that kept kids entertained but, unlike TV, was available with games and educational apps that stimulated the mind. However, there is some bad news — overuse of tablets can lead to negative side effects including eyestrain and perhaps even long-term damage.
Symptoms of Eyestrain
If your kids exhibit any of the following symptoms, named by Mayo Clinic, they could be suffering from eyestrain due to prolonged periods in front of a screen:
- Discomfort, including sore, itchy, or tired eyes.
- Watery or dry eyes.
- Blurred or double vision or difficulty focusing.
- Pain in the neck, back, or head.
- Sensitivity to light.
Tips for Eyestrain and Tablets
To keep your kids safe while still allowing them to use tablets, Essilor recommends the following:
Limit time on tablets
Tablets pose a higher risk to the eyes than other screens like computers and televisions, as the device is held closer to the face. By enforcing rules about how long your child may use a tablet, you can avoid eyestrain. Good rules include spending no more than 30 to 45 minutes at a time on a tablet, playing only a certain number of games, or following the 20-20-20 rule, where you take a break every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Use the tablet together
Playing and reading together on a tablet can ensure that your child looks away from the screen frequently. Plus, it has the added benefit of allowing your child to interact with you one-on-one, which is essential for developing language and social skills.
One last way to reduce eyestrain is to increase the amount of time your kids spend outdoors. Playing outside changes the focus of the eyes, allows vision to develop properly, and may prevent shortsightedness. Remember, it is important to protect your kids’ eyes from the sun with a pair of shades that block 100 percent of UV rays, just like those you can find in the Real Kids collection.