Eye Fatigue and Screen Time

By Dr. Laura Sperazza, Lighthouse Guild Director of Vision Rehabilitation Services

With students learning from home and spending so much time in front of the computer, many parents ask if looking at screens can seriously damage their child’s eyes. While it is unlikely that excessive screen time will cause permanent damage to your eyes, common symptoms of computer strain include blurry vision, burning, irritation, heavy or tired eyes and tearing. This can lead to eye strain, headaches and increased stress.

Additionally, excess screen time can negatively affect your child’s ability to sleep. Research shows that the blue light from computer and device screens, when used in the evening, alters the brain’s sleep rhythms. The brain reads the screen light as “daytime” and shifts the body’s circadian rhythm.

To help lessen the damage screens are causing to your child’s eyes

  • Set a limit on daily screen time. Make it clear to your kids and stick to it.
  • Encourage your child to spend some of that screen-free time outdoors while it is still light.
  • No screens in the bedroom when it is time for bed. No exceptions.
  • Teach your children the 20-20-20 rule when using a computer or other screen device. Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen for 20 seconds and focus on something at least 20 feet away.
  • Make sure the screen is positioned so that your child looks slightly down at it, not up. And adjust lighting to eliminate glare on the screen.