Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Understanding Digital Eye Strain and the Importance of Yearly Eye Exams #AOA #MC (Sponsored)

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With most children heading back to school within the month now is not only the time to think about new shoes, clothes and supplies, but it’s also time to think about getting your child their yearly eye exam. My own child’s poor eyesight was overlooked by our pediatrician on more than one occasion due to his young age. When his father and I noticed that his eye looked as if it turned in somewhat in photographs, we decided to take him to an optometrist for a checkup. This was one of the best decision we made, and after finding out he is nearly blind in his left eye and an eye surgery, he is doing great and has shown all around improvement over the years. But, now more than ever we monitor the time our children spend staring at screens; phone screens, tablets, computers and the television. In fact, we monitor any actions that can possibly affect their vision.
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With the use of technology among children both at home and in the classroom is on the rise, and a new survey from the American Optometric Association (AOA) shows that parents drastically underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices. The reports revealed the 83 percent of children ages 10-17 use an electronic device for 3+ hours per day, with 80 percent of surveyed children reporting that they experience burning, itchy and/or tired eyes after using these devices for long periods of time. Did you know that these are all symptoms of digital eye strain? Optometrists are also growing concerned with the effects of light everyday electronic devices give off (high-energy, short-wavelength blue light) and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes.


Digital Eye Strain #AOA

So what can we do as parents? In a lot of cases technology is essential to our child’s student career and even as adults we seem to be simply immersed in technology. Look around next time you’re out. How many pairs of eye balls do you see glued to their smartphone screens? When it comes to protecting eyes and vision from digital eye strain, taking frequent visual breaks is important. Here is what the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends to help prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain and exposure to blue light:

  • Children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
  • Checking the height and position of the device. Computer screens should be 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.
  • Checking 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 happens, turn the desk or computer to prevent glare on the screen. Also consider adjusting the brightness of the screen on your digital device or changing its background color. 
  • Reducing 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 a dimmer switch may be installed to give flexible control of room lighting.
  • Adjusting font size. Increase the size of text on the screen of the device to make it easier on your eyes when reading. 
  • Keep blinking. Frequent blinking reduces the chances for developing dry eye by keeping the front surface of the eye moist.
Seeing how poor vision has affected my child, I urge all parents to set sometime within this busy back to school season to get your child an eye exams by an optometrist. The AOA recommends every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after six months of age, before age three and every year thereafter. I, unfortunately, waited too long to have my son evaluated the first time. I can’t help but wonder if his vision issues would have been noted earlier by an optometrist, would his vision loss have been so bad? 

Please note, children now have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Act, through age 18.


For more about eye health follow @AOAConnect  and like the AOA on Facebook.

5 comments:

Karen Glatt said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It is so important to the child's school work if they have good eye sight or they can do poorly in school. I know this when I was having problems being able to see the board. My Dad got me eyeglasses and my grade's improved!

VickeC said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

my grandchildren get their exams,one of my grandsons has to wear glasses and be regulated regularly

Deal Bunny said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is so true. I'm at the computer 10+ hours a day between work and home. I got LASIK done back in 2006 and no longer see anywhere near 20/20 because of my daily eye strain

Shelly Peterson said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Thanks for sharing this. Sometimes us parents don't think more about what affects using electronic devices can have on ones eyes.

JRFrugalMom and Family said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

We've got our appointments scheduled. Our oldest son wears glasses, and our youngest son might need a pair.

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