There’s no doubt about it: You make sure your children are as happy and healthy as possible. That’s why you make sure your children eat healthy foods, get plenty of physical activity, and feel safe and loved.

But are you giving your children’s eye health the same consideration – especially when it comes to screen time?

Recent research suggests that ophthalmologists are noticing more cases of digital strain in young children; this same digital strain is thought to contribute to nearsightedness, which can be permanent. So if you want to minimize the chances that your children will become nearsighted, we recommend the following tips:

Eye Health Reston

Managing Screen Time: The 5 Best Tips to Protect Your Children’s Eye Health and Safety

1. Teach them to hold digital media at a safe distance.

18 to 24 inches away from the eyes is ideal, so whether your child is on a tablet or Switch, teach them to keep any forms of digital media at this magical distance.

2. Remind them to take breaks.

If your child has been spending a lot of time in front of the computer, teach them to take short breaks whenever possible. A one-minute break every ten minutes is a good place to start for children (for adults, we usually recommend a longer break every hour).

3. Encourage them to read a “real” book.

It’s always good to give your child’s eyes a break from digital media, including e-readers. Encourage your child to read his or her favorite book in its physical form, so as to reduce the likelihood of experiencing digital strain.

4. Keep computers in dimmer rooms.

Avoid having your child use their digital media in a brightly lit room, as this increases the dimness of the screen and can exacerbate the feeling of eye strain.

5. Show your child how to “look up.”

Again, this is an important part of teaching your child to take regular breaks from digital media. Remind your child to look up from their screen every few minutes to help reduce eye strain.

Take the Next Step

Keep your children’s eyes safe and healthy this upcoming school year. Schedule a consultation with ophthalmologist Dr. Jacqueline Griffiths at NewView Eye Center in Reston, VA today. Dr. Griffiths can develop a plan that helps protect your children’s vision for years to come. 703-834-9777