Children can be glued to playing video games for hours on end. Modern technology is making this behavior widespread and no longer regulated at school or home, like it used to be. Nowadays tablets, cell phones, and portable laptops are everywhere and people of all ages are simply addicted to them. Many parents ask, “are video games and computers ruining my children’s vision? If my child is intensely staring at a near object for hours on end will this cause their eyes to grow more and more nearsighted?”
Researchers have found that children who spend a couple of hours outdoors are up to four times less likely to become myopic.
It’s a common concern for many reasons including social skills, personality, overall health, but also increasing nearsightedness. The scientific community is continuously researching whether or not nearpoint stress can indeed contribute to myopia progression, but the consensus is that moderation of devices and outdoor activity are essential for the health of the patient while limiting nearsightedness. It has been shown in the research that lack of outdoor playing time has a strong correlation to myopia progression. Researchers have found that children who spend a couple of hours outdoors are up to four times less likely to become myopic.
Our message to parents is more green time and less screen time. Outdoor activity and exercise are fantastic for visual development versus sedentary indoor activities. This reduces risk factors for myopia as well as improves eye hand coordination, spatial depth perception, and eye pursuit skills. While it is inevitable that many children will gravitate towards tablets and computers, efforts should be made to reduce screen time when possible.
Kids who spend more time outside are less likely to develop myopia (nearsightedness)1 . Here are some fun activities to encourage outdoor time! As you and your child complete each activity, check off the box or place your favorite sticker to mark your accomplishment!
When working intensely on a near task such as studying or working on the computer, we recommend the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break by looking far away at an object 20 feet away. In effort to limit eyestrain, fatigue, and an increase in nearsightedness, it is important to limit device use as much as possible and implement device breaks as described:
NO device use except occasional video chat
Take a 20 second break every 5 minutes
20 second break every 10 minutes
20 second break every 20 minutes