Bath Opticians explains how increased screen time can affect a child’s eye health and can lead to eye strain, headaches and broken sleep patterns

Will too much screen time damage a child’s eyesight? This is certainly an important consideration for parents and carers, particularly with computer-based distance learning resources becoming a popular option for children who are schooled from home as a result of the Coronavirus restrictions on schools.

Andrew Edwards, Optometrist Director at Bath Opticians, explains, “While there is currently no scientific evidence that the blue light that comes from TVs, computers, smart phones and tablets can cause permanent damage to children’s eyes, extended use of these devices over long periods can certainly lead to eye strain, blurred vision, sore and tired eyes, dry eyes and headaches.

“In addition, if a child uses these devices less than an hour before bedtime, there is evidence to suggest that blue light can lead to the suppression of the sleep hormone melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy. This, in turn, can lead to broken sleep patterns and reduced concentration levels the following day.”

Andrew explained that sunlight contains red, orange, yellow, green and blue light rays, which together creates what is known as ‘white light’. Depending where they fall on the spectrum, light rays have long wavelengths (with less energy) or short wavelengths (with more energy).

“Blue light is a high-energy visible light that as well as naturally occurring in sunlight, can also be seen from screens. While there is no evidence to suggest that blue light causes permanent damage to the eyes, there is evidence to suggest that looking at a screen close-up for long periods of time can affect short-term eye health.”

Andrew suggests that to maintain positive eye health and to help guarantee a good night’s sleep, children should –

  • Take a break from their screens by focusing into the distance for 20 seconds after every 20 minutes of screen time.
  • Not use their screens at least 60 minutes before bedtime
  • Have regular eye tests at least once every 12 months to ensure that they maintain a high level of eye health.

Bath Opticians has been delivering eye care to its patients for over 40 years, offering a range of services including routine eye examinations, a dedicated children’s area for younger patients, highly advanced OCT scanning and retinal photography, and specialist help with managing dyslexia.

For more information, call 01225 427353 or email