More kids are having trouble seeing things farther away and are needing glasses earlier in their lives, according to new research. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the incidence of nearsightedness in the U.S. has nearly doubled to 42% since 1971.
Although doctors have reported seeing more kids with nearsightedness, dry eye and eye strain, screentime isn’t the only culprit. A 2019 AAO study found a part of the increase is do to “near-work activities.” Along with looking at screens, looking at anything close up for long periods of time can have an impact - including books. The study also found that spending time outdoors can slow the progression of nearsightedness.
To help slow the progression of nearsightedness, here are a few tips for parents:
- Remind kids to hold a device 18 inches away
- Take breaks (every 20 minutes)
- Adjust the brightness on screens
- Get outside
- Filter out blue light on screens