Excessive Digital Screen Time may have a significant detrimental effect on the human visual system. In general, Digital Screen Time (DST) can be defined as the average time per day spent viewing a digital device within arms length of the screen. This includes academic, such as online learning, social media and recreational activities. Where pre-COVID near-point digital screen time used to be an occasional activity for children, primarily social and recreational, amounting to possibly 1-3 hours per day, now with the addition of academic instruction, the intensity of DST for many children can occupy on average 5-8 hours per day or more.
So, why is sustained DST potentially so detrimental? To better explain, one of the country’s leading experts, Dr. Carl Hillier discusses this topic with La Jolla Learning Works in this recorded online webinar entitled: Efficient Visual Learning when Accessing Academic Instruction Online. Link: https://youtu.be/YV5nKwXN3wE
Key visual stress relieving steps to reduce the impact of digital screen time on a child’s developing visual system include:
– the 20-20-20 Rule – every twenty minutes look 20 feet away for 20 seconds
– reduce brightness of digital screen
– eat 1 cup of baby-kale or 2 cups of spinach per day
– or take supplements of Lutein and Zeaxanthin
– Blue Blocker filter 2 hours before bed or just printed books
Even with the importance of implementing visual stress reduction methods as outlined by Dr. Hillier, when visual problems pre-exist or are exacerbated by excessive DST, it is important to find a Optometrist with expertise in this area for proper testing and treatment. Effective treatment typically involves properly prescribed “visual-stress relieving” lenses PLUS when a child struggles with visual problems involving visual processing and/or eye tracking, eye teaming, eye focusing, then optometric vision therapy can provide the solution.