How Screen Time Affects Your Kids' Eye Health (And 6 Ways to Fix It)

April 13, 2021

Extra screen time could be affecting the development of your kids’ eyes. But you have time to remedy the problem.

We can all agree that exercise and eating right will lead to a healthier, more resilient body. But have you ever thought about what you should be doing to keep your eyes healthy?

What Happens to Your Eyes When Your Stare at Screens All Day

Myopia (nearsightedness)

Eye strain

  • Visibly straining to see
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Poor lighting
  • Glare on a digital screen
  • Being too close to screens
  • Uncorrected vision problems

Dry eye syndrome

  • A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • A sensation of having something in your eyes
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Difficulty with nighttime driving
  • Watery eyes, which is the body's response to the irritation of dry eyes
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue

How to Be Kind to Your Eyes

1. Get outside

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends taking frequent breaks from staring at a screen and spending as much time outside as possible. Being outside is good readjustment for the eyes.

2. Take breaks

3. Introduce eye-healthy foods

  • Vitamin C: Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers, and tomatoes
  • Vitamin E: Vegetable oils (including safflower and corn oil), almonds, pecans, wheat germ, and sunflower seeds
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Fish and other seafood (especially cold-water fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, and sardines), nuts and seeds (such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts) plant oils (such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil) fortified foods (such as certain brands of eggs, yogurt, juices, milk, soy beverages
  • Vitamin D: Cold-water fish (i.e. red sockeye salmon, sardines or cod liver oil) along with crucial essential fatty acids.
  • Zinc: Red meat, legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans, shellfish (oysters, shrimp, muscles), seeds (hemp, flax, pumpkin or squash seeds)
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin: Dark green leafy vegetables as well as colorful fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, orange peppers, corn, peas, persimmons, and tangerines.

4. Try blue light-blockers

5. Put time limits on screen time

6. Make bedtime screen-free

Give Your Family’s Eyes a Break

Whether you’re still working from home, schooling from home, or socializing from home on video, or even binging TV at home, screens are still the common denominator. Your eyes are begging you to take some time off from screens. Take some time to sit down with your whole family, and make a group commitment to be kind to your eyes this year.