Screen Use for Children, Is It Safe?

Many parents are aware that limiting their children’s screen time is a good idea. However, most parents aren’t entirely sure where they should draw the line.  

When it comes to screen time for kids, some common questions parents have include:  

  • How much screen use is too much for kids?  
  • How does too much screen time impact young children, including their eyes and attention spans?  
  • Should screen time vary depending on a child’s age?  
  • Is it safe for children to use screens?  

If you’ve ever wondered about those questions, here’s what you need to know.  

The Impact of Screen Use  

Screen use has been associated with a variety of health concerns in children. Research suggests that it can lead to developmental delays, poor sleep quality, obesity, ADHD, and eye development issues.  

When it comes to the eyes, myopia (nearsightedness) has become more common as screen time has increased throughout the population. Digital eye strain – which can lead to headaches, blurred vision, light sensitivity, and other symptoms – is also a concern. Since people tend to blink less when viewing screens, the occurrence of dry eye can rise with increased screen time, as well.  

The blue light that comes from screens and hits the eyes can also harm sleep quality. While some of this can be mitigated by going screen-free one to two hours before bed, when blue light impacts sleep, children may begin to struggle in their daily lives. Their grades may decline, their ability to focus can be hindered, or they might become irritable.   

Screen Use Recommendations  

Generally, kids younger than one shouldn’t use screens at all. Until up to age 2, screen use should be minimal. Ideally, digital media shouldn’t be part of their experience at all. If there is screen use before age 2, it should involve only video chats and educational media and only for short durations.  

Between the ages of 2 and five, limiting screen time to one hour per day is best. Ideally, you want to focus on high-quality, educational media, ensuring that hour provides value beyond entertainment.  

After age 5, there isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach. Parents will need to take a child’s educational and social needs into account, allowing them to set healthy but personalized limits.  

If you aren’t sure where to begin, banning device use during key moments can be a solid starting point. For example, not allowing screens during dinner or one to two hours before bed are reasonable limits. You can also set time-based limits and even install apps that prevent individual device use after that amount of time has passed.  

Ultimately, your child’s health should be a guiding light in your screen time decisions. That way, you can set proper limits and reduce their odds of experiencing screen time’s negative effects.  

Make an Appointment With a Pediatric Ophthalmologist 

At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for the eye health of our patients. If your child hasn’t had an eye exam recently, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

When Is Eye Twitching Serious?

When you experience an eye twitch, it’s common to be concerned. Not only is the sensation uncomfortable or bothersome, but it’s hard to tell if the eye twitching is benign or related to a serious condition.  

If you are dealing with eye twitching and want to understand the cause, learn how to stop the twitch, and determine whether you need to see a doctor, here’s what you need to know.  

What Is an Eye Twitch?  

Eye twitching – also called blepharospasm – is a type of movement disorder. It causes involuntary movements around the eye, including involuntary blinking or trembling. Usually, the eye twitch is an annoyance but isn’t painful. Additionally, they typically stop on their own, though it can take a while for that to happen.  

Common Causes of Eye Twitching  

Eye twitching can be caused by a variety of situations, many of which are benign. Some of the most common reasons a person may experience an eye twitch include:  

  • Fatigue or Tiredness  
  • Stress or Anxiety  
  • Eye Strain  
  • Caffeine Consumption  
  • Nicotine Consumption  
  • Alcohol Consumption  
  • Medication Side Effect  

In those situations, the eye twitch usually resolves itself in some time. For example, after resting, a fatigue or eye strain-related twitch can subside.  

However, eye twitching can also be a symptom of certain medical conditions, some of which are serious. Here are some of the medical conditions that can have eye twitching as a symptom:  

  • Parkinson’s  
  • Multiple Sclerosis  
  • Bell’s Palsy  
  • Stroke  
  • Dystonia  
  • Tourette’s Syndrome  
  • Meige Syndrome  
  • Brain inflammation  
  • Corneal Abrasion  
  • Blepharitis  
  • Uveitis  
  • Conjunctivitis  

In these cases, a medical professional’s treatment is essential, not just for stopping the twitch. Without treating the underlying condition, symptoms can continue or worsen. Additionally, some of the conditions above can be fatal if left untreated.  

How to Stop an Eye Twitch  

In many cases, eye twitches caused by strain, fatigue, or tiredness will resolve on their own, particularly after some rest. For stress, relaxation exercises could make a difference. With anxiety, following your treatment regimen for acute episodes may provide relief. When it comes to consumption-related eye twitches, waiting for the substance to exit your system may be necessary to get relief from the eye twitch.  

However, if it’s related to a medical condition, treating the underlying condition might be necessary to alleviate the twitch long-term. If you have any of those conditions and are experiencing an eye twitch, you’ll need to work with your doctor to determine how best to alleviate the symptom.  

When to See a Doctor About Eye Twitching  

If you have a twitch lasting for more than 72 hours, spasms that also involve additional facial muscles, spasms preventing you from opening one or both eyes, signs of inflammation, symptoms of an eye infection, or pain, it’s best to see your doctor about your eye twitch right away.  

Additionally, if you have symptoms of any of the conditions above, you should also immediately see your doctor. If you’re experience drooping of facial muscles, slurred speech, or other signs of a stroke, call 911.  

Once you see a doctor, they can determine the root cause of the eye twitch. Then, they can create an appropriate treatment plan to address the underlying cause. This can include anything from medications to lifestyle changes to other forms of treatment, depending on the condition involved.  

Your Eye Health is Our Priority 

At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for the eye health of our patients. If you haven’t had an eye exam recently or are concerned about an eye twitch, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Family looking at eyeglasses