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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Screen Time Can Affect Children’s Vision and Learning: “Screen-related near-point work can trigger problems with eye teaming, focusing control, eye-tracking skills and a tendency towards tunnel vision.”

Jul 24, 2019 09:31PM

August is Children’s Vision and Learning Month, for good reason: A new school year is just around the corner.

“With today’s screen-heavy load, effective vision support is more critical than ever,” says Dr. Samantha Slotnick, a Scarsdale behavioral optometrist. “Screen-related near-point work can trigger problems with eye teaming, focusing control, eye-tracking skills and a tendency towards tunnel vision.”

She says parents and caregivers should be on the lookout for the following signs and symptoms of vision problems associated with screen use:

  • excessive blinking
  • headaches, eyestrain and/or neck strain
  • large (dilated) pupils
  • clumsiness (poor spatial awareness)
  • hunched posture (head thrust forward, toward the screen)
  • tendency to lose place when reading
  • reduced comprehension
  • distractibility / lack of sustained concentration
  • momentary blurry vision at distance
  • avoidance behaviors

While each of these symptoms contributes to inefficient or ineffective learning sessions at home and in the classroom, Slotnick says, the underlying learning-related vision problems are treatable. She recommends that parents of school-age children add a comprehensive, near-point-oriented vision evaluation to their back-to-school checklist.

“While we can’t completely eliminate screen interactions in our modern era, glasses can be optimized for screens and other near-point use,” she says. “Learning-oriented lenses reduce the adverse impacts of prolonged, intense visual demands, bolstering a child’s physical comfort and ability to sustain attention when concentrating on screens, and in turn, improving his or her reading comprehension.”

Dr. Samantha Slotnick has offices at 495 Central Park Ave, Ste. 301, Scarsdale, NY. For more information or to attend a free workshop, call 914.874.1177 or visit DrSlotnick.com.