Digital Eye Strain is a Threat to Healthy Vision

We all know how tech-savvy our kids are. If an electronic device is not working properly, just hand it to a youngster and he or she will have the problem corrected in no time! Kids don’t become experts with phones, handheld games, tablets and laptops by accident. They have lots of practice.

According to the National Institute of Health, American children spend 5 to 7 hours per day on some type of screen. Possibly, they are simply imitating what they see. Almost four in ten millennials and one-third of Generation Xers spend at least nine hours per day on a digital device. It’s no surprise, then, that 68 percent of millennials claim that they suffer from digital eye strain. Symptoms of digital eye strain include itchiness, redness, dryness and burning. This condition can actually change tear fluid and make it similar to tear fluid of someone with dry eye disease.

How can staring at a screen cause so many problems? Digital devices emit blue light or high-energy visible light, and looking at blue light for a long period of time is unnatural and irritating to the eyes. In fact, prolonged exposure to blue light has been known to damage retinal cells. Blue light also causes us to blink less often, which can cause the eyes to feel scratchy and dry.
Here are some tips to help prevent digital eye strain for you and your whole family:

  • Sit down and have a talk. Chances are, your family members may not be aware that too much screen time can damage vision. Have a family discussion about eye health and the importance of caring for your vision from an early age.
  • Set time limits. Establish boundaries for electronic devices, and set goals for kids to complete homework and chores before they can have screen time. Then, create a specific limit per day for screen time. Parents, you can set limits for yourselves too. Modeling good behavior in front of your children will help establish good patterns.
  • Step away from the screen. Remember the 20-20-20 Rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20 second break and look at something at least 20 feet away.
  • Turn down glare. Take the time to adjust the brightness of your computer screen so it matches the brightness of the lighting in the room.

If you need more suggestions on how to prevent digital eye strain, talk to your ophthalmologist (Source: Mashable).