Now more than ever, children are spending more time on computers, tablets, smartphones, and in front of the television. All those hours spent scrolling or staring at a screen can have a negative impact on your child’s visual, mental, and physical health. As a parent, here is what you need to know.
The Alberta Association of Optometrists reports that 28 percent of parents say their child experiences symptoms during or after using digital devices. However, some children don’t complain or show signs of discomfort, so digital eye strain can be difficult to detect.
Too much screen time can lead to digital eye strain. Digital eye strain describes a group of symptoms that result from prolonged use of a digital screen. Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, light sensitivity, eye irritation, double vision, excessive tearing, burning eyes, excessive blinking or squinting, and dry eyes.
Too much screen time can negatively affect a child’s overall well-being. Studies have shown that moderate to high use of screen time can lead to a variety of physical and psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, poor posture, sleep issues, weight gain, reduced attention span, poor behavior, and vision problems.
Prolonged blue light exposure can have adverse effects. Blue light is a part of the color spectrum. When you combine all colors of the spectrum, you get ‘white light’ or sunlight. Sources of white light include the sun (primary source), LED and fluorescent lighting, and electronic and digital devices.
However, the blue light is of more concern because it has higher energy compared to the other colors, and our eyes are poor blue light blockers. Almost all blue light passes through the front of the eyes and reaches the retina. Blue light exposure increases alertness by suppressing the release of melatonin, making it harder for you to fall asleep. This can disrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle (circadian rhythm). Excessive use of digital screens increases blue light exposure because they are in close proximity to the eyes and used for long periods of time.
How can you protect your child from digital eye strain?
Dr. Alisha Adatia is the lead optometrist and CEO of Blink Eyewear. With three locations serving the Calgary area, Blink Eyewear’s highly-trained team of optometrists and opticians are ready to serve every member of your family from infant to senior using the most advanced technologies and latest products. For more information, visit blinkeyewear.ca. Follow on Facebook, facebook.com/blinkeyewearoptometry, and Instagram @blinkeyewearyyc.
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