7 Ways to Reduce Eye and Vision Problems
I don’t know about your kids, but our kids love to play on their Samsung tablets, on the Playstation and on our iPhones. I think the usage of technology is a lot higher now than it was when I was a kid, and that being the case, there is a higher need for our children to wear glasses. Of my 3 boys, 2 of them need to wear glasses on a regular basis. I found out that both boys needed glasses during an exam with their pediatrician. From there we visited an optometrist and it was confirmed they needed to wear eyeglasses.
The use of technology among our children both at home and in the classroom has increased over the years. According to a new survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents drastically underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices. Another AOA survey reported that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 estimate they use an electronic device for three or more hours each day. And yet another AOA survey of parents revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. Most parents believe the time their kids spend time using technology is far less than what it is.
With the use of technology on the rise comes the increase of cases of digital eye strain – a temporary vision condition caused by prolonged use of technology. Eighty percent of children surveyed report to have experienced burning, itchy or tired eyes after using electronic devices for long periods of time. Not only is digital eye strain experienced, but other symptoms are as well, including headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain.
Optometrist are growing increasingly concerned about the types of light that are emitted from everyday electronic devices. The high-energy, short-wavelength blue light and their rays can affect and even age the eyes. As parents, we want to protect our children and keep them safe. The American Optometric Association recommends a few ways we can help to protect our children’s eyes and prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain and exposure to blue light.
7 WAYS TO REDUCE EYE AND VISION PROBLEMS
1 – Check the height and position of the device. Computer screens should be at least four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held a safe distance away from eyes and slightly below eye level.
2 – Check for glare on the screen. Windows or other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of a computer monitor. If this does happen, be sure to turn the desk or computer away so as to prevent glare on the screen. You might also consider adjusting the brightness of the screen on your digital device or changing its background color.
3 – Reduce the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen. A lower-wattage light can be substituted for a bright overhead light or you might even consider installing a dimmer switch so there is more flexible control of the room’s lighting.
4 – Adjust the font size. Increasing the size of the text on the screen of the device will also make it easier on your eyes when reading. I can attest that this helps as I do when I work on my computer.
5 – Keep blinking. Frequent blinking can help reduce the chances for developing dry eye by keeping the front surface of the eye moist.
6 – Practice the 20-20-20 rule. When it comes to electronic devices, we need to make sure we encourage them to take frequent visual breaks. Children should practice the 20-20-20 rule. This is where they take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something that is 20 feet away whenever they are using technology.
7 – Visit your optometrist for comprehensive eye exams on a regular basis. By doing this, your optometrist will be able to identify the signs and symptoms associated with digital eye strain and other vision problems. The American Optometric Association recommends that every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after six months of age, before age three and every year thereafter. Thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Act, our children have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams through 18 years of age.
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