Oakville Centre for Vision

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Vision Therapy and Digital Screen Time (DST)

Vision Therapy and Digital Screen Time (DST)

How much Digital Screen Time (DST) does your child average per day? Excessive DST 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, 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 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.


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 filters 2 hours before bed with a digital device ( or just read a printed book)

When visual problems pre-exist or are made worse by excessive DST, it is important to find a Optometrist with expertise in this area for proper testing and treatment. Effective treatment typically involves prescribed “on-line” glasses and possible vision therapy if struggles continue.

To determine candidacy for vision therapy to help improve clear comfortable vision with screen-time, a 2-hour Initial Assessment is completed. This testing is a critical appraisal of 12 visual skills related to screen-time, that goes far beyond the basic eye exam and 20/20 vision clarity; it assesses visual efficiency (eye focusing and teaming), reading eye movements and visual information processing (VIP) skills. If two or more of these visual skills are significantly below normal then they are likely creating visual-anchors and reduced performance. These deficient visual skills are remedial with diligent effort with vision therapy that is doctor directed.

Please visit my website www.oakvillecentreforvision.com or call the office 905-338-2020 or email us at vt@oakvillecentreforvision.com for more information.