Does sitting too close to the TV really hurt my child?

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Does sitting too close to the TV really hurt my child?

It's an age-old guise we parents use to scare our children off watching too much television — but do these old wive's tales really affect our children's eyesight? The Weekly busts some eyecare myths.

Myth busters

  • Myth: Will standing close to a TV make them go blind?

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says that kids can actually focus up close without eyestrain better than adults, so they often develop the habit of sitting right in front of the television or holding reading material close to their eyes. However, sitting close to a TV may be a sign of nearsightedness so it's best to get your children's eyesight tested regularly.

  • Myth: If you cross your eyes, they'll stay that way.

    Contrary to the old saying, eyes will not stay that way if you cross them. However, 2 - 4% of all children have a "lazy eye" or amblyopia so if your child displays symptoms of this, have their eyes tested by a professional.

Fortunately, most eye problems in children can be corrected if they are detected and treated early. Appropriate eye care is essential for maintaining good vision and some problems, if left untreated — even for a short period — can result in permanent vision loss.

If you or your child have any of these symptoms you should have a complete vision analysis:

  • headaches, nausea or dizziness after visual concentration
  • blurred or double vision at any time
  • crossed or turned eyes
  • blinking or eye rubbing after visual concentration
  • dislike or avoidance of close work
  • short attention span
  • placing head close to book when reading or writing
  • frowning while looking at the TV or blackboard
  • difficulty reading small print
  • difficulty adjusting focus between near and far objects

How often should you have your eyes tested?

Your optometrist will advise you of the interval between your full eye and vision examinations which is appropriate for your vision and eye health needs. Changes in vision and eye health are often quite slow and subtle, and can easily go unnoticed if not checked regularly.

Your say: Do you have your eyes checked regularly? Tell us below...

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