Protect Your Children from Digital Eye Strain

Protect Your Children from Digital Eye Strain

Digital Eye Strain - Kids Eye Exams in Rochester HillsDigital Eye Strain (DES) is a relatively new eye problem.  Dr. Mark Roy of Oakland Optometry started noticing many of his patients showing symptoms of DES, when computers became a standard part of the workplace and home. For many years, this vision concern (also referred to as computer vision syndrome) was limited to adults. However, today, with the presence of laptops, electronic white boards, smartphones and tablets in the home, Dr. Roy is seeing an increase in children with DES. For your child, the more time spent looking at a digital screen, the more severe the eye and vision issues can become. Here’s what you need to know about your child and digital eye strain.

Some Facts - Did you know?

According to a 2016 report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Vision Council:

  • 17% of children age 6 to 17 are exposed to six or more hours of digital media per day.
  • 36% use digital media for two to four hours per day.
  • 78% of parents are concerned about the impact of digital devices on their children, but only 29% take their child for an annual eye exam.
  • Kids in grades 7 through 12 report that they spend, on average, 90 minutes per day sending texts on their smartphone.

What is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital Eye Strain is a group of eye and vision related problems that are the result of spending too much time in front of a computer, tablet or smartphone. Over time, the toll taken results in a host of symptoms.  According to the American Optometric Association, computer vision syndrome and digital eye strain, can cause a menu of symptoms that include:

  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Causes of these symptoms include:

  • Poor lighting
  • Glare on a digital screen
  • Improper viewing distance or angle
  • Poor seating posture
  • Uncorrected vision problems
  • Or a combination of the above factors.

What Does Digital Eye Strain Mean for my Child?

One of the most significant problems that we know exacerbated by too much time in front of a digital screen is myopia, or nearsightedness. Since computers became a “normal” part of life, there has been a significant increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with myopia. In fact, over the last 30 years, there has been a 60% increase in the number of Americans that have myopia.  Myopia is the most common refractive error of the eye and can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.

How to Prevent Digital Eye Strain

Here are some ways to protect your child from Digital Eye Strain:

  • Schedule an annual comprehensive vision exams. If Dr. Mark Roy detects changes in your child’s vision early, the easier it is to treat.
  • Limit screen time. Use the “20-20 rule”, which suggests 20 minutes of screen time followed by at least 20 seconds of break.
  • Keep screens at least 18 inches from your child’s eyes.
  • For computer screens, reduce glare by making sure light sources are not directly visible when sitting at the computer.
  • Encourage proper posture and provide ergonomic workstations.
  • Ask the optical team at Oakland Optometry to help you select lenses that are engineered to combat DES. There are lenses available to help protect eyes from computer screen glare to lenses designed to provide comfortable viewing, especially handheld digital screens.  There are even lenses available for kids who do not need corrective eyewear, but would benefit from plano glasses with these recommended specialty lenses.

Digital Eye Strain and computer vision syndrome don't have to be a reality for you or your child. Taking simple steps can protect your eyes and keep your child’s vision healthy.

For More Information on Digital Eye Strain Contact Dr. Mark Roy -- Trusted Eye Doctor in Rochester Hills

To learn more about digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome, contact Dr. Mark Roy at Oakland Optometry in Rochester Hills at 248.373.6500 or schedule an appointment online . 

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