Mom is right most of the time…but when it comes to television viewing distance, she’s wrong – at least today. There is no evidence that children or adults will damage their vision if they sit too close to the television.
She may have been partly correct if you were a kid in the 50s or 60s. Televisions manufactured before the 1950s reportedly did emit higher levels of radiation that could increase the risk of eye problems. And in the 60s General Electric recalled television sets that emitted unsafe levels of radiation. But today’s modern televisions must comply with the Federal radiation limit. According to the Food and Drug Administration, “flat panel TVs incorporating Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD) or Plasma displays are not capable of emitting x-radiation.”
Viewing shows or video games close-up can produce headaches, fatigue or eyestrain. However, children typically don’t experience eyestrain like adults do. Even so, this shouldn’t be an excuse to allow your child to spend hours in front of a screen every day. Make sure your child – and you – are engaging in other activities, like playing outdoors, to keep their minds and bodies healthy.
If your child routinely holds reading materials close to their eyes, you should schedule an eye exam to ensure that a refractive error is not the culprit. He or she may need corrective lenses to see clearly.
If a refractive error is to blame, you children may not have to live with glasses or contacts forever. When they are adults, blade-free LASIK in Chesapeake may help correct the eye shape or corneal curvature so clear vision can be achieved at all distances.