Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it true that TV can hurt your vision?"
My husband is constantly fretting that letting our 4 year old daughter watch tv (especially from close, where she likes to sit) will damage her eyesight. He attributes his needing glasses to watching too much tv when he was a kid. Is this possible?
There is no scientific evidence that watching television, using a computer, or similar activities is damaging to the eyes. There is a long standing myth that rays from televisions cause nearsightedness, but there is no actual evidence that this is the case. It is possible to get strain and fatigue of the neck muscles from staring too intently at a screen, but this is not permanent or damaging. On the other hand, there are many reasons that too much television can be damaging to the health of small children in other ways. Television is not as enriching of an activity for children as playing games, reading books and interacting with adults and it does not encourage vocabulary growth and other forms of learning to the same extent. Similarly, too much television contributes to physical inactivity. It is important for children to learn to be physically active early in life so as to prevent obesity later in life. Finally, parents cannot reliably control the messages their children are exposed to through television, for example violent programming. For all of these and other reasons, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should be exposed to no more than 1 to 2 hours of high quality television programming per day.