Older adults are more likely to have dry eye. Tear production breaks down over the years, so dry eye becomes a natural part of aging. However, people of all ages can develop dry eye, including children.

Two girls with notebooksA range of reasons can be responsible for your child’s dry eyes.
 
The eyes can get dry and irritated during long stretches of screen use. Studies show that people of all ages blink far less often when concentrating on a screen, which in turn causes the eyes to dry out.

Dry eye syndrome can also make it challenging for children to perform Young boy with tabletwell in school. Burning, itchy and irritated eyes, along with blinking, interfere with focusing in the classroom. Regular daily activities, such as reading, using a computer, and playing sports become extremely challenging for children with dry eyes.

There are several steps you can take to help protect your child from the effects screens have on their vision:
 
  • Limit Screen Time. Encourage your child to do other activities and set a time limit on how long they can use devices.
  • Take Breaks. Your child may become absorbed in whatever they are doing on their device and won’t remember to look up. Make sure you remind your child every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This is called the 20-20-20 rule, and it helps the eyes to relax.
  • Position Screen Appropriately. Positioning screens just below your child’s natural eye-line will ensure they are not opening their eyes too wide and causing excess tear evaporation.
Young girl wearing sunglassesTo help alleviate dry eyes:
  • Have your child wear sunglasses. This protects against wind, dust and sun.
  • Use a humidifier in your child’s room.
  • Do not place a fan near your child’s bed.
  • If your child wears contact lenses, supply him or her with rewetting drops.
  • Use artificial tears.
The Eye Institute’s Dry Eye Clinic focuses on the diagnosis and management of dry eye syndrome. If your child is experiencing symptoms of dry eye, contact the dry eye experts at The Eye Institute. For an appointment, call: 215.276.6111.