So Covid happened, lockdown happened, home schooling happened and the increase in kids staring at a computer screen happened.
Most of it was unavoidable- school is compulsory is it not?
But then children were spending more time on screens and less time being kids outdoors and this has resulted in a huge spike in myopia i.e., short sightedness.
However, as parents, that is the least of our worries. No one tells you about the blue light exposure that can potentially damage the eyes both in the long and short term.
I’m talking dry irritated eyes, eye fatigue, increased cataract risk, macular problems…should I continue?
So, what can you do?
As a mum of 3 my 1st piece of advice- get them outside! Our eyes need to unfocus from the close-up world whether it’s on screens or even books, and the best way to do this is to get outdoors.
If they can’t do this, because of the weather, dinosaurs, pandemic whatever, then use the 20:20:20 rule where both adult and child take a break from a screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds by looking at least 20 feet away. This regular practice will ensure more comfort when using screens etc.
Invest in your child’s eyes- blue light filter lenses are the best way to protect from all types of blue light whether in the ethos or from a tablet, phone or computer. Even if they don’t need glasses, you can get non-prescription blue light filter lenses fitted into any frame.
Finally, turn on the eye comfort shields or blue light blockers on your devices. These offer some protection from direct sources of blue light.
I hope this has been helpful- remember the above advice is geared towards children but your eyes are just as precious, and you can apply all the above to your own daily practices and upgrade your lenses.
Written by our Optometrist Aiman Poptani