3 Possible Causes of Your Child's Eye Strain

Is your child complaining of blurred vision, dry eyes, head and neck pain, eye fatigue or light sensitivity? If so, they may be suffering from eye strain. Eye strain is caused by looking at something intensely or for a prolonged period of time, and it can be very uncomfortable for children. Luckily, eye strain is easy to solve with the help of an optometrist. Here are 3 potential causes of your child's eye strain and tips on how to combat them.

Digital Screen Use

While becoming 'square-eyed' from watching TV or using a computer is nothing more than an old wives' tale, too much screen time can cause eye strain. Of course, for today's children, digital activities are ingrained into daily life. Both at school and at home, your child is likely to spend several hours looking at computers, televisions, phones and tablets. As this level of screen time is a fairly recent development, human eyes haven't evolved to handle it. As a result, children who spend too much time looking at screens can end up straining their eyes to focus on them for long periods of time. This can be even more of a problem for children than adults as their young eyes aren't yet mature enough to handle this strain.

One of the best ways to reduce this eye strain is to reduce your child's daily screen time. If this isn't possible, encourage regular breaks and make sure they don't sit too close to the screen. Glasses with lenses that filter out the blue light that comes from screens may also alleviate discomfort.

Outdoor Play

If screen time isn't good for the eyes, then it seems logical that spending time outdoors is. While being outdoors requires less visual focus than digital devices do, that doesn't mean eye strain can't occur during outdoor play too. If your child spends most of their day frolicking in the sun, the bright outdoor light could be causing them to strain their eyes to see. If you live in a particularly sunny part of Australia, this problem is even more likely to occur. To make matters worse, many children won't tell their parents their eyes hurt when playing as they don't want to be forced to play indoors.

Sunglasses are the ideal way to prevent eye strain outdoors. When the sun's too bright, encourage your child to wear dark-tinted glasses with a UV filter to keep their eyes comfortable and healthy.

Vision Problems

Sometimes the cause of eye strain is internal rather than external. While many vision problems are associated with the aging population, even very young children can have eye conditions than need to be corrected. Two of the most common problems are nearsightedness (myopia), which makes faraway objects look blurry, and farsightedness (hyperopia), which makes close objects look blurry. Children suffering from these problems will often strain their eyes while trying to focus on blurred objects, and may not even realise that they have a vision problem.

Thankfully, these problems are easy to correct with glasses or contact lenses. An eye exam can diagnose your child's vision condition and find the right prescription to suit their needs.

When it comes to prescription eyewear needs, whether your child needs computer glasses, sunglasses, or regular glasses, contact a reputable optometrist in your area for a thorough eye test and prescription.