What is the effect of screen time on one’s eye health and vision?
We find that people who spend a significant amount of time on screens can have a decrease in blink rate of 40 to 50 percent. Whenever one blinks, a tear film is created, so a decrease in tear film generally leads to an increase in dry eye effects. We have also found that a child holding a digital screen at a very short distance from the eyes can lead to an increased progression of myopia.
What would you recommend in terms of my child’s daily screen time?
The rule of thumb that we follow is the “20-20-20 Rule.” We recommend that every 20 minutes, you look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. The important thing is to take breaks. If a child is spending an hour watching a screen, we would expect at least three breaks.
What treatments does your practice offer for patients suffering from dry eye disease, perhaps aggravated or caused by screen time?
We offer a variety of options, depending on the severity of the dry eye. Sometimes, just giving your eyes a regular break from screens may alleviate much of the symptoms. However, artificial tears can also offer relief. Severe dry eye cases may require prescription eye drops or even scleral lenses.