Are Computers and Smartphones Affecting Your Children’s Vision?

are computers and smartphones affecting your children's visionHere’s why young eyes need special concern, and steps you can take to protect your child’s vision!

How to Protect your Child’s Vision

Dry Eyes

When viewing a computer, tablet, or smartphone, kids’ eyes are wide open and fixed on the screen. They blink less. So the risk of dry-eye disease is higher as children spend more time on smartphones, says a study in BMC Ophthalmology.

When the children in the study took a month off from phone use, their dry-eye symptoms faded.

Dry-eye disease in kids can cause vision problems. Some research shows a correlation between screen use and short-sightedness among children.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many eye specialists think these problems are not diagnosed as much as they should be. But they can be  prevented.  A few tips appear at the end of this article.

Blue Light

Today’s computers and devices use LED light—light-emitting diode technology. It sends blue light into the eye. We might not notice any stress, but the retina is delicate tissue. It’s possible that too much bright light creates risks in children for early-onset macular degeneration or cataracts.

As we move our eyes closer to the screen, we increase our exposure to bright light. And we all have a tendency to bend into smartphones when reading text messages or updates on social media.

The reason children face special risks? As people age, more yellow pigment gathers in the eye’s natural lenses. That yellow, it turns out, shades our eyes from bright blue light. This explains why those non-prescription eyeglasses for computer users are tinted yellow. Blue light filtering prescription glasses and lenses are also on the market.

There are only limited research findings on the hazards of blue light, but sensible precautions can’t hurt your child, and could have a number of benefits.

Night Shift

Do your children spend time on their tablets, phones, or computers close to bed time? Many young people, including students doing research, are in that habit.

It’s important to check the brightness setting on their phones and other devices. That light can be toned down. And some smartphones have settings that allow the user to create a “night shift” that causes the phone’s light to tone itself down between certain hours.

Too much late phone use can keep kids up, and lower sleep quality. The brightness of the screen keeps the mind in dayshift mode. Overall, putting the phone down earlier promotes good health.

Tips to Protect Your Child’s Eyesight

  • Talk to your child about the importance of blinking while viewing.
  • Be sure your children and teens get regular outdoor time, exercise, and nutritious meals.
  • Gradually decrease the amount of time children may use computers and smartphones. For young children, aim to keep it down to an hour a day.
  • Set a nighttime alarm. When it rings, the child has a brief window of time to wrap up and log off—and go to bed phone-free.

Finally, be sure your child has an annual vision check-up until the age of 18. To set up an appointment with Dr. Sobel, or if you have questions, please call us at (860) 567-4565.

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