In today’s technology-driven world, children have more access to phones, computers, tablets and TVs than ever before—both in the classroom and at home. Research has shown that this increased screen time may contribute to the likelihood of a child developing myopia in their youth.
By limiting their daily consumption and encouraging more outside playtime, you can decrease their chances of developing nearsightedness and slow its progression in patients who have been previously diagnosed.
Recommended Screen Time Breaks
While minimizing screen use is important for overall vision health, there are some measures you can take to minimize the risks of myopia during digital consumption. Remember the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, take a twenty second break and look at something 20 feet away to help your eyes relax.
Follow this guide for recommendations by age group:
Birth–2 Years Old
Screen time is not recommended
3–5 Years Old
Break every 5 minutes
6–12 Years Old
Break every 10 minutes
Break every 20 minutes
Outdoor activity offers a plethora of health benefits for kids and adults alike. Studies have shown that children who spend 13 hours per week (just under 2 hours per day) outdoors are less likely to develop myopia. Here are just a few ideas to motivate your children to get outside for some fresh air, vitamin D, and daily movement. Just make sure they wear UV protection sunglasses and sunscreen—weather permitting.
- Play with sidewalk chalk
- Create an outdoor scavenger hunt with a prize for the first person who completes the checklist
- Have a family fun pool day
- Host a fancy picnic in the backyard
- Go for a bike ride around the neighborhood
- Walk the dog as a family
- Teach them how to garden and introduce them to caring for living things
- Have a water balloon fight
- Work together to build an outdoor fort or playhouse
- Practice sports they’re interested in like soccer, baseball, basketball, etc.
- Have a family primitive camping night in the backyard
- Assign age-appropriate outdoor yardwork chores
- Create an obstacle course
- Play yard games, hide & seek, or freeze tag
- Invite them to participate in outdoor projects, such as cleaning out the shed or garage
- Turn on the sprinkler for some water fun
- Go on a rock collection walk and examine them under a microscope later
- Participate in messy science experiments in the grass
Children who spend a couple of hours a day outside are up to 4X less likely to develop nearsightedness