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Integrated Eyecare of Bend, Oregon

How to protect your student's sight from the digital age

In the past decade, digital device use among students in the United States has become widespread. Accumulating research is showing that that heavy “digital device” use among students puts them at risk for early myopia or nearsightedness.  A recent study conducted by the National Eye Institute and published in  the Archives of Ophthalmology found that the prevalence of nearsightedness among Americans has increased from 25 percent to 41.6 percent of the population over the past 30 years — an increase of more than 66 percent.

Sustained viewing of digital devices, particularly phones for texting and games, stresses eyes because this extremely close prolonged task forces the young visual system to focus and strain a lot more than any other task. This can put students at an even greater risk than adults for developing symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of “Driving Your Child Into Myopia”

The American Optometric Association offers parents these tips to help protect your child's sight. 

  1. Have your child's vision checked. Before starting school, every child should have a comprehensive eye exam, including near-point (phone, tablet and reading) and distance testing.
  2. Limit the amount of time your child spends on their phone and consider all of the digital devices they use on a daily basis (iPad’s, tablets and computers) without a break. Encourage kids to take 20-second breaks from their digital device every 20 minutes to minimize the development of eye focusing problems and eye irritation - (“20-20” rule).