Children, Computers and Vision

Children and computers are nearly inseparable these days. With many school-age kids and even preschoolers spending hours in front of a computer or laptop every day, it’s worth considering what effects computers might have on your children’s eyes and ultimately, their vision.

Too much of anything can be a problem. Like adults, children who spend many hours in front of a computer have a greater risk of developing computer ergonomics problems and computer vision syndrome. Computer ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency at their computer work stations. Problems with computer ergonomics are closely associated with computer vision syndrome, which can affect children as well as adults.

Another potential problem of too much screen time (from computers, e-readers, video games and smartphones) for children’s eyes is overexposure to harmful blue light. All digital devices with viewing screens emit significant amounts of blue light (also called “high-energy visible light” or “HEV light”) which might increase a child’s risk of macular degeneration later in life.

Though the sun emits significantly more HEV light than computers and other digital devices, the added exposure to blue light that kids receive from these devices and how close these electronic screens are to a child’s eyes for hours each day have many eye care providers worried about potential eye damage over time.

For these reasons, it’s a good idea to set guidelines for your children when it comes to the amount of time they spend in front of a computer.