Don’t sit so close?

The Pediatric Insider

© 2010 Roy Benaroch, MD

Will sitting too close to the television hurt your eyes?

No.

As recently reviewed in a short article from Scientific American, there’s no risk to eyesight from watching TV too close, despite what momma told you. Apparently there was a television sold in the 1960 that was recalled because of excessive radiation, which may have led to the lasting myth of too-close television watching hurting a child’s eyes.

Kids who are nearsighted might prefer to sit closer so they can see better, but it’s not the television that caused the vision problem. Actually, most children I see whose parents are worried about vision issues because of close-watching have perfectly normal vision. I think some kids just like to watch sitting very close.

Television isn’t off the hook though– there are plenty of bad things that are related to excessive screen time: depression, poor speech skills (yes, even in toddlers who watch allegedly “educational” shows), overweight, and many other problems. TVs in children’s bedrooms are an especially bad idea.

So: though watching TV too closely won’t hurt anyone’s eyes, the best distance to watch a television is far, far away. From a different room, or a different house.

There’s nothing good on, anyway!

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