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We live in a society where reading from a screen is a major staple of our lives. On-demand video, music, and social media with constant updates keep us glued to any kind of screen for hours on end. Over time, constantly staring at a screen gradually affects our eyes.
This may sound like a problem exclusive to adults, considering most jobs have us staring at a computer screen for hours, but what about kids? Kids aren’t immune to the allures of digital devices. In fact, kids put their faces in digital devices just as long, if not longer, than we do. Here’s how digital devices affect the eyes of kids.
Computer Vision Syndrome
Digital devices produce high-energy visible light in the form of blue rays. Blue rays enter a child’s eyes and increase their risk of developing eye problems like computer vision syndrome. Computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, is one of the conditions often linked with excessive use of digital devices.
More than 70 percent of American adults report their child or children get more than two hours of screen time per day. Within two hours of screen time, parents reported their children experienced the following symptoms:
- Headaches (8.8 percent)
- Neck/shoulder pain (5 percent)
- Eye strain, dry or irritated eyes (9.1 percent)
- Reduced attention span (15.2 percent)
- Poor behavior (13.3 percent)
- Irritability (13.5 percent)
Myopia is the most common cause of impaired vision in people under age 40 with an eye bulging 40% of the U.S population being affected. Kids with a lot of screen time are at greater risk for developing myopia. Myopia symptoms can vary, including squinting, eye strain, and headaches.
Myopia is caused when the eyeball is too long, relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on its surface. This is concerning to researchers as the stress from the blue light of digital devices might increase one’s risk for age-related macular degeneration later in life.
Prevention and Treatment
Fortunately, there are ways to relieve the eye strain from digital devices which can give children a better quality of life. Eyewear is available with lenses that have interesting features such as magnification, plus anti-reflective and blue light-filtering. If a parent believes their child or children are ready for contacts, contacts are also available to help reduce the symptoms of digital eye strain.
If the goal is prevention, the Vision Council has a few recommendations for individuals and their children to reduce eye strain from digital devices:
- Visit an eye care provider to discuss your child’s digital habits and what solutions are available to relieve the symptoms of digital eye strain.
- Parents should encourage their child or children to take breaks when using digital devices.
- A parent should check to make sure their child or children aren’t putting the screen too close to their eyes for long periods of time.
- Parents should ensure the workspace for their child or children is set up properly with a chair promoting correct posture with feet flat on the floor to ensure a proper distance from the monitor.
Digital Devices will continue to grow to be a staple in our lives. However, it’s never too late to take simple precautions or accept treatments to reduce eye strain from digital devices, especially for our children. If you are unsure what steps to take, contact First Eye Care North Arlington for a consultation.
First Eye Care North Arlington will diagnose and treat the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome. We will take your symptoms, pre-existing conditions, and potential undiagnosed conditions into account as we perform three eye tests: visual acuity, refraction, and focus and eye coordination. Schedule an appointment today.