Children's Eye Health During Summer

Children's Eye Health During Summer

Children's Eye Health During Summer

During summer, children look forward to enjoying their summer vacation by travelling and gaining new experiences.

However, many children spend their summer break at home due to their parents' work commitments, and much of their leisure time is spent in front of computer screens, mobile phones, or tablets.

This excessive screen time poses various risks to children's eye health.

Dr Namir Kafil-Hussain, a renowned Consultant Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Surgeon at American Hospital Dubai highlights the potential dangers of extended screen exposure for children.

Computer Vision Syndrome, or digital eye strain, is becoming increasingly common among children. Globally, approximately 20 per cent of children suffer from this condition, characterized by eye fatigue from prolonged use of computer screens and digital devices. Symptoms may include heightened sensitivity to light, headaches, and eye irritation.

There has been a surge in cases of early-onset myopia (nearsightedness) among children, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic, when electronic devices became essential tools for remote learning.

Dr Namir advises parents to monitor their children's screen time regularly and limit their exposure to electronic devices. He provides the following tips to help safeguard children's eye health:

  • Set time limits for the use of computers or digital devices.
  • When children use mobile games or computers, encourage them to take a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes to look out the window or into open space.
  • Remind children to shift their gaze away from the screen periodically while using digital devices to reduce eye strain.
  • Help children take to the habit of reading paper books between their preference for screen reading.
  • Encourage your child to enjoy outdoor activities and sports, such as swimming and soccer, to help them soak in sunlight and minimize the possibility of developing myopia due to excessive eye strain.
  • Teach children to adjust the brightness, contrast, and lighting of mobile phone screens and other electronic devices to maintain optimal visual conditions and prevent long-term damage.
  • Discourage using digital devices outdoors in bright lighting, which can strain the eyes more.
  • Activate the Night Mode on devices to reduce exposure to blue light and advise children to refrain from using them for at least one hour before bedtime to enjoy a sound sleep.
  • Encourage children to maintain a distance of 18-24 inches (approximately 45-60 cm) between their eyes and the screen when using digital devices.
  • Teach children to adopt the correct sitting posture while using digital devices to prevent neck and shoulder discomfort.

By encouraging children to follow these guidelines, parents can protect their children's eye health and ensure their visual development remains unhindered.

Authored by:
Namir Kafil-Hussain

Namir Kafil-Hussain

Consultant Pediatric Ophthalmologist

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