Is screen time affecting my children’s eyes?

When my first daughter was a baby, almost 14 years ago, I would sit her in her bouncer seat, and play Baby Einstein DVD’s. It was my saving grace! If I wanted to get anything done, I knew that if I played her these DVD’s  she would chill out and immerse herself in the classical music, lights, sounds, and puppetry.

The Baby Einstein DVDs were said to help babies with brain development, and overall language development. Needless to say, I thought I was giving my daughter a head-start, and at the same time, I was giving myself some time to get my head-start, on things like the laundry, cooking, and more.

When my oldest daughter entered her toddler years, the Baby Einstein DVD’s no longer kept her engaged the way they did when she was an infant. For this reason, she entertained herself with puzzles, toys, and arts and crafts, instead of T.V.

Today, she is a full-grown teenager, and I can’t get her face away from a screen! She is always staring at her phone, messaging her friends, snap chatting and watching videos.

From my recollection, when my second daughter was a baby I didn’t give her screen time much at all. The Baby Einstein DVDs had become scratched, and when I tried them a few times, she didn’t seem as mesmerized as her sister was. She was also a very content baby, so I didn’t need to worry about trying to find avenues of stimulation so I could leave her for a bit to get things done. In fact, she was such a quite baby sometimes I would get busy and forget she was even there!

When I look back on her first few years, I did let her have some screen time, but it definitely wasn’t the amount if screen time our first daughter engrossed in.

Today, she rarely watches TV, and she doesn’t use an iPod or play games on an iPad either. She usually finds things to do that keep her busy that don’t involve screen time, such as playing with her dolls and jumping outside on our trampoline.

Our last daughter, who is five years old now, has had a lot of screen time since the time she was an infant to now. In all honesty, my husband and I let her play on the iPad early because she is our spirited, high energy child, and screen time was an easy way to help her calm down. Now that she’s in kindergarten, she rarely has screen time, but she definitely has had the most screen time out of all three of my girls. This could also be a result of my husband and I  simply having our faces buried in a screen more than we once did in the past too.

In short, the amount of screen consumption my daughters have had in their lifetime has me concerned about the effects this may have on their eyes. I did take them for an eye exam this past year, and everyone’s vision was fine. However, I still can’t help to feel anxious when I see my daughter playing games on her iPad, while she holds it so close to her face. And, when I  watch her and her friends playing Just Dance on the Wii, I wonder if this is damaging their eyes too?  Shouldn’t they just be dancing around, without having to stare at a screen? And my main concern: Is this going to be some type of epidemic one day? Will our children have more vision and eye issues than ever before?

 

Fortunately, when Image Optometry reached out to me to collaborate with them on a blog post, I came across an article on their blog that eased some of my concerns regarding screen time.

http://image.ca/video-games-ruining-mean-improving-vision/

The article suggests that playing video games helps people better track objects, with their eyes and brain, and this benefits driving skills. To summarize, the article points out the many benefits that screen time,  particularly playing video games has on our eyes. It was very interesting to learn that screen time and video games can, in fact, have the ability to improve vision.

 

“The full impact of technology on our vision and brain development is still largely unknown and will require a continued commitment over the years of study to determine the complete picture.”-Image Optometry

 

I’m so glad I found this article, it helped me see some of the positives of screen time, which in turn, helped ease my concerns.

At the end of the article on Image Optometry blog, it states;

Just remember the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at least 20 feet away.”

I will definitely be reminding myself and my girls of this rule. In fact, I think it’s time for me to look up!


 

Image Optometry is known for their $89.95 deal which gives out a free pair of glasses per eye exam. And if two people go to a clinic together before the end of Dec, they will have a chance to win 2 Canucks game tickets!

Image source: Pinterest

 

 

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