Should Your Child Wear Computer Glasses?

If your kids spend hours in front of a computer screen, they could be at risk of developing vision problems. A study presented at Vision Expo East found that as many as 30 percent of kids who use computers at home or at school are causing undue stress on their visual systems and may need computer eyewear. Researchers also found a strong correlation between children who work many hours at a computer and premature nearsightedness.

Some unique aspects of how children use computers may make them more susceptible than adults to the development of computer vision syndrome (CVS) — a condition which is caused by staring at computer images, or pixels, for hours at a time. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), the impact of computer use on children's vision involves the following factors:

• Children often have a limited degree of self-awareness, so they may perform the same task on the computer for hours with few breaks. This can cause eye focusing and eye strain problems.

• Children are very adaptable, so they're likely to ignore eye and visual problems that would be addressed by adults.

• Children are smaller than adults. Work stations, however, are often arranged for adult use, which can lead to an uncomfortable viewing angle for children.

Since 80 percent of a child's learning comes from vision, experts recommend that children have their first comprehensive eye exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist before they enter kindergarten.