We take this question to heart when it comes to our childrens' exam, and make it our mission to educate all of our parents, especially the new parents, the impact screen time has on their kids’ eyes.
At Respect, our Optometrists follow this schedule recommended by the Canadian Association of Optometrists:
0 - 2 years old - minimal to no screen time for children
2 - 5 years old - <1 hr/day
5 - 18 years old - <2hrs/day
Avoid screens at least 1 hr before sleep
Excessive exposure to screen time is associated with psychological effects including language delays, attentional difficulties, and lower cognitive abilities. For the eyes, this leads to increased risk of early onset myopia. The earlier a child is diagnosed with near-sightedness, the higher the risk of it to progress.
When should parents be bringing their kids’ in for their eye exam?
Our Optometrists recommend their first eye exam at 6 months of age and annually after that. Most of the visual development in babies happen by 6 months old. Alberta Health Care covers most of the cost of children’s' exams before they the age of 19.
Let’s work together to keep our kids’ eyes off those screens!
About the Author Dr. Steven Hoang received his Doctor of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. He serves as the owner and full-time eye doctor of Inglewood and Ramsay at Respect Eyecare. His special interest is in contact lenses and dry eye syndrome.