Is sitting too close to the television is bad for the eyes?
Q: My Mom used to warn me as a child that sitting too close to the television is bad for the eyes. Is this true, or is it just an old wives’ tale?
A: There is no evidence that sitting too close to the TV can damage children’s eyes. It may, however, lead to temporary eye strain. If your children are staring at TV, computer or videogame screens for a long time, there is a tendency for them not to blink. You should encourage them to take breaks, and look into the distance.
In reality, compared to adults, children can focus up close much better, without eye strain. However, it is important to understand the difference between cause and effect when it comes to watching TV up close. If you find that your children are sitting very close to the TV, while this probably won’t cause nearsightedness, it may be an indication that your children are already nearsighted. You might want to have them checked for this condition by your family eye doctor.
And let’s not forget that there is a correlation between television watching and other medical conditions, such as obesity, which can lead to other problems later on in life. As always, everything should be in moderation. Keep an eye on your kids’ viewing habits and frequency whether it’s TV, computers or video games. And remember to keep an eye on the content too: kids are not “mature audiences.”