A study by Safer Internet shows that 81 percent of children aged three to six go online every day. Tablets, smartphones and internet-enabled televisions are the most frequently used media. Time spent in front of screens can also affect vision and eye health. “A reading distance that is too short and screen time that is too long can have a negative impact on the growth of eye length in children,” explains Kurt Otter, master of the guild of eye and contact lens opticians and optometrists of the state of Styria. This can cause nearsightedness (myopia) to develop. Genetic factors or spending too little time outdoors can also be causes of myopia.

Once myopia is established, it cannot be stopped completely. However, there are measures to prevent the progression of myopia or prevent its development. Tip number one involves spending time outdoors regularly. Children should exercise outside for two hours a day in daylight.

20/20/20 rule

If children are busy indoors and in front of screens, they definitely need to take a break. The 20/20/20 rule is useful here: every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. In addition, children’s vision should be checked regularly, and they should be checked by an ophthalmologist once a year. “Optical measures include special contact lenses and glasses,” Otter explains.