Effects of electronic screens on children’s vision and recommendations for safe use


Joint Position Statement

(November 2017)

Policy Issue

The prevalence of electronic screen-related ocular symptoms is estimated as high as 50–90% in adult electronic screen users.1,2,3 Due to a lack of scientific literature in the area, the corresponding statistic is not known for children. Children’s use of electronic screens, however, has become more commonplace (home and school), 4a begins earlier in childhood than in the past,5a and can last for long periods of time.4a,6a,7a Adult prevalence of electronic screen symptoms and resultant guidelines for safe use should not be automatically conferred to children.

Compared to adults, children’s visual and physical systems are different and are still developing. Also, children use screens differently and for different tasks.4a This policy reviews the current literature on ocular and visual symptoms related to electronic screen use in children and provides evidence-based guidelines for safe use. The effect of screen time on other cognitive and developmental milestones is beyond the scope of this statement.

Access Details

Read the full position statement from the Canadian Association of Optometrists (CAO) and the Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS).

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