Surrey eye hospital warns parents of the risks to children’s eyesight

Do not let digital Christmas gifts cost your child their eye sight – that is the message from specialists at a Guildford eye hospital. 

The likes of games consoles and tablets bought for children could be causing them harm. Optegra Eye Hospital are urging parents to limit their child’s screen time. It is after their research found 81% of Surrey and Hampshire parents agree over-using technology can damage eyes, but some still let their child spend hours fixated on a screen. Surgeon Robert Morris,  Leading Ophthalmic Surgeon and Medical Director at Optegra Eye Health Care, says the warning signs are easy to spot:

“It is clear from our research that a worrying number of British children are having far more screen time than recommended, which we know can lead to conditions like eye strain and dry eye. If their children have symptoms of sore, dry eyes they should take advice from an optician at a check-up.”

In Surrey and Hampshire 12% of parents are allowing their children to spend three to four hours each day on their various screens. That figure makes up 30% of parents nationally. And 6% mums and dads in our counties admit letting their children spend six hours fixated on a screen.

Robert has one suggestion to keep your eyes protected:

“One of the catchphrases is the 20, 20, 20 rule. The idea is every twenty minutes we focus on a distant object twenty feet away, for twenty seconds. This is a good convenient distance to relax the eyes from focusing hard close up. We would urge parents to ensure their children take regular breaks from the tech presents they receive this Christmas.”

The research found 53% of families in our region primarily use computers as their main technology at home, compared to 24 per cent using smartphones and 22 per cent using tablets. But adults are at risk too. They are spending an average of three hours a day looking at smartphones and six hours a day looking at a computer screen or tablet.

All of the research excludes the hours children spend watching television or doing school work online.