Many children love to play video games, but increased exposure to the screen can result in unfortunate side effects on the eyes long after the game is over. In fact, many children exhibit symptoms of computer vision syndrome, a condition that affects the eyes of people of all ages across the world.
Are you asking yourself, ‘What do I need to know about video games and my child’s eyes?’ If so, keep reading to learn the negative effects of video games on children’s eyes.
What do I need to know about video games and my child’s eyes?
Consider this: most of our children spend a good portion of their days on screens at school, but then after coming home, they play video games. Every day, children ages 8 to 18 spend over seven hours in front of digital devices. Consider how much screen time that is.
The American Heart Association suggests that two hours of screen time at most per day is optimal. That is five hours less than what children are spending on average in front of a screen every day. For children younger than age 5, one hour per day is better. Research suggests that excess screen time has caused children to default to sedentary lifestyles, which can result in many health issues, though the impact has yet to be confirmed.
Here are some things that can happen to your child’s eyes:
Too much time playing can cause video game eye strain.
If you work on a computer for long periods, you have probably experienced symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Often, symptoms of this can include blurry vision, fatigue, and headaches. When your child spends too much time playing video games, they can experience these same symptoms and more–and they may not be telling you.
Children, also, tend to have so much fun playing video games that they can lose track of time, and if they don’t take breaks from the digital screens, they can experience video game eye strain, which will be a lot like what you experience by working on the computer for too long. If this extended game and screen time is a regular occurrence, you may want to consider blue-light glasses as an option for your child. It will help with video game eye strain and keep these symptoms at bay.
Too much time on video games can make your child have trouble focusing.
When a child is playing a video game, they are prone to have to adjust their focus on the moving screen. Their eyes can also stay glued to the screen, which can make it challenging for them to look away.
Concentrating on the screen can present issues for your children, making it hard for them to focus on other things. If you notice your child is straining their eyes to see the screen, they have probably reached their eyes’ limits. Make sure your child takes frequent breaks away from the screen to rest their eyes.
Excess time on video games can lead to eye irritation.
Video games are fun and interactive, but they keep your child’s attention. When games hold your child’s attention, that causes them to blink less often. This can make your child’s eyes dry and irritated, which is another symptom of video game eye strain.
To prevent eye irritation while your child is playing video games, encourage your child to implement the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes spent in front of the screen, have them look at an object 20 feet away and focus on that object for 20 seconds. This will keep your child from experiencing eye strain and prevent agitation.
What should you do if your child spends too much time playing video games?
As a parent, you must do what you feel is necessary and right for your family, and if that includes keeping video games around, that’s great. Video games have been shown to have as many positive effects on children as negative effects. For instance, video games can help children develop excellent problem-solving skills. However, if you want to protect your child’s eyes due to the prolonged time in front of the screen, we recommend limiting how much time your child spends playing these video games. Restricting your child’s time playing video games will help prevent video game eye strain.
You can also schedule an eye exam for your child to see if blue-light glasses would be beneficial. These glasses are useful when it comes to limiting the impact of digital eye strain on your child’s eyes if they spend more time on screens than just playing video games, such as while at school.
By staying educated about the side effects of video games on your child’s eyes, you can help them make healthy decisions that prevent digital and video game eye strain, and even other issues that may impact them in the future.
Summary: What do I need to know about video games and my child’s eyes?
It’s important to know that video game eye strain is real, and asking the right questions, such as, ‘What do I need to know about video games and my child’s eyes?’, will help you understand what to do to protect your child’s eyes.
Being informed is always important. Here’s what you need to know about video games and your child’s eyes:
- Digital screen time and video game time should be limited, depending on your child’s age.
- Video game eye strain causes symptoms similar to computer vision syndrome in adults.
- Eye irritation is a symptom of playing video games for a prolonged time.
- Limited time on video games and blue-light glasses can help your child’s eyes.
If you feel your child is spending too much time on video games or looking at a digital screen too long, consider limiting their time to one to two hours per day or ordering blue-light glasses. An eye appointment is all you need to learn how blue-light glasses can benefit your child’s eye health.
If you think your child may benefit from an eye exam, For Eyes is the place to go. Find a store near you to schedule an exam today.