With children and adults spending more time tethered to the screens, it is time to separate fact from fiction, and determine exactly how much screen time damages the eyes.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, doctors are seeing an increase in the cases of dry eyes and strain due to screen usage in children. Moreover, increased usage of screens is leading to nearsightedness and eventual use of glasses. However, the question is whether this digital eyestrain causing lasting damage or is this just another instance of nearsightedness?
Since 1971, myopia or nearsightedness has seen a rising trend, so much so that in Asia, about 90 percent of teenagers and adults are nearsighted. Studies suggest that it might be near work activities that are lading to myopia, and not just screen use.
These can include reading books, handcrafting etc. Despite that, digital eyestrain is a reality and one that constantly produces symptoms. Adults and children both suffer from the effects of screen use in the form of blurry vision, headaches, migraines, eyestrain, dry eye etc.
There is not enough evidence to suggest that the blue light emitted by screens is causing lasting eye damage, or that computer glasses must be prescribed to children. Extended reading, writing and near sight works can cause similar strains.
There are easy ways in which we can combat digital eyestrain:
Take a break after every 20 minutes and set a timer to remind yourself. Encourage children to spend time outdoors and take a break from near sight activities. Alternating ebooks with real books is also a good option for children who read a lot. For children who are constantly playing on video games, taking a break every twenty minutes is a must.
It is parents who need to be cautious in such scenario to provide a distraction to their children so that they take a break from screen watching. Using a good posture when reading or using a screen should also be embedded in children, as should be the habit of holding the screen a good 18 to 24 inches away from the face.
Parents should also adjust the brightness on the devices themselves to prevent eyestrain in children. In the outdoors, or brightly lit areas, devices should be avoided as the glare on the screen can strain the eyes.
Most importantly, children mimic the parents; parents themselves should incorporate these habits in their screen use so that children can learn by example.
The clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Dr. K. David Epley, encourages parents to teach their children better habits to combat eyestrain than to only provide reading glasses. Children should be taught to take a break if they experience eyestrain rather than merely using glasses to combat discomfort.
If you are experiencing eyesight problems, or you want a general eye checkup then head online and book an appointment with a top eye specialist in Lahore, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.