In a recent letter to the editor in a local newspaper, the CEO of Optometry Australia raised an issue that many parents may be unaware of when letting their children spend excessive time in front of a screen. Increased screen usage and time in front of screens is predicted to lead to a a global epidemic of shortsightedness affecting 50% of the population by 2050.
The rise to 50% of the population being shortsighted is being linked to children spending more and more time in front of a screen and less and less time outside. It makes sense when we think about it for a minute, focusing on a close by object and not far away leads to shortsightedness. This has been the case even before screens were commonly used; when children who excessively read books were focusing on the book close to their face, these kids would usually end up shortsighted.
Now it seems everyone is spending a lot of time focusing on things close to our eyes, screens, books, phones, tablets and computer screens. The eyes need a break looking at something far away different planes of focus. The muscles surrounding the eye need to work and the eye needs to constantly move. We should encourage children to exercise their eyes simply by not focusing on close by objects all the time, get outside and do things.
If we can not get outside and our kid's can't during the day they should try to every twenty minutes at most focus on something twenty meters away for twenty seconds, this gives the eye a rest and a chance to exercise.
Ideally we should try limit ourselves and our children to less screen time. If we can keep the recommended amounts of time as suggested here then we lessen the chance of shortsightedness, tired eyes and eye related issues caused by extended screen use. Look after your eyes and your eyes will look after you.
To help you stick to the recommended time limits try Pixel Pounds.