Dr. Jim Martin 07/21/2016

girl-on-tablet-ipad.pngYour children are fortunate to grow up in an era of advanced technology — technology that's been at their fingertips their whole lives. Whether your child is playing the latest video game, or doing homework on a computer, technology is everywhere they turn.

What's not yet fully clear is the impact that prolonged exposure to digital devices has on the long-term health of the eye. But it is clear that it causes eye strain and discomfort, while eye providers have reported an increase in cases of nearsightedness in children and in the population as a whole.

Who Is Most Susceptible To Digital Eye Strain?

While it may seem like adults, especially those with computer-oriented jobs, would be most vulnerable to digital eye strain, children are increasingly using technology for prolonged periods of time. The increased number of children with myopia (nearsightedness) may be because of the increase of close-range activities such as using digital devices. According to recent research, nearly 80 percent of parents are concerned about the impact of digital devices on their children's developing eyes.

Moreover, using digital devices means more exposure to harmful blue light rays, which can lead to serious eye issues like macular degeneration,  the leading cause of blindness among adults.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

It's not uncommon to begin experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain after spending two or more hours on a device. It's characterized by dry, irritated eyes, blurred vision, as well as neck and back pain. If you use more than two devices at once, your chances are greater of experiencing symptoms of digital eye strain.

What The Numbers Say

Numbers set forth by The Vision Council in its 2016 Digital Eye Strain Report show that 65% of children and teens spend at least two hours a day on digital devices. One in four spends more than three hours a day, and some parents don't limit their child's screen time at all. Their use certainly doesn't decrease as they get older; nine out of 10 young adults say they frequently use two or more digital devices at a time.

What Can Parents Do?

Limiting screen time is the best thing parents can do to protect their children's eyes. But you can also:

  • Invest in computer eyewear for your child to prevent eye strain and block blue light exposure.
  • Encourage your child to take breaks when using digital devices.
  • Make sure your child doesn't sit too close to the screen.
  • Set up your child's workplace properly, including with a chair the encourages correct posture.

Another way to protect your child's eyes is through regular eye exams. Contact the professionals at Broome Optical of Amarillo today to schedule a back-to-school checkup before the rush.

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