BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — According to a recent study, home confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic is associated with a significant shift of nearsightedness for children ages 6 to 8.
The study found the prevalence of myopia, or nearsightedness, increased 1.4 to 3 times in 2020 compared with the previous five years.
Dr. James D. Reynolds, chairman of the University at Buffalo Department of Ophthalmology and practicing pediatric ophthalmologist, says when kids are in a virtual world they are doing things that involve more nearsightedness. He listed examples such as reading a book or looking at a screen for six to eight hours a day rather than being in school when there would be more of a mix.
So how can you reduce your child's screen time? We spoke to Dr. Reynolds and Kate Dust, an early childhood instructor at Buffalo State College.
- Get your child up and out of the room, do something physical and away from the screen.
- Have your child take frequent breaks so the time in front of the screen is not continuous.
- Set up a plan for your child, if they have X amount of screen time then they must have X amount of time away from a screen.
- Remove phones, tablets and/or other electronics when it's time for bed.
- The younger the child the less screen time there should be. The recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics is two hours of screen time outside of the formal education screen time.