Is Too Much Digital Screen Time Harmful To A Child's Eyes?

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September 7, 2018
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Digital Device Usage
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Is Too Much Digital Screen Time Harmful To A Child's Eyes?

Too much time watching digital display screens can lead to both short term and long term problems with your child’s vision.

Digital Screens and Nearsightedness

Researchers have discovered that nearsightedness, also called myopia, is twice as frequent in children of school age as it was 50 years ago. The cause has been traced back to a lack of sunlight. Why are these kids not getting enough sunlight? They are spending as many as 7 hours a day playing video games on their digital devices.

Sunlight triggers the release in the body of a substance called dopamine. Dopamine keeps the eye from distorting into the elongated shape causes nearsightedness. When your child spends too much time staring at a digital screen instead of playing out doors in normal sunlight, the odds go up that he or she will become nearsighted.

Unless the child’s nearsightedness is noticed, they will not be able to see beyond their desk in the classroom. Kids who cannot see what the teacher writes on the blackboard are probably not going to do as well in school as those who can see well in the distance.

Kids tend to sit right in front of the television. When is this just habit and when are they nearsighted? Spending time outdoors every day instead of watching TV or playing video games is healthy and it appears to reduce the risk of being nearsighted!

In the case of nearsightedness, the problem is not the video display screen but rather a lack of sunlight. But, there is a long-term risk to your child’s eyes that is directly linked to smartphones, computers, and video game screens.

Digital Screens, Blue Light, and Macular Degeneration

Is there a cumulative effect on your child’s eyes with too much exposure to blue light? Researchers are concerned. Blue light is more energetic than the red end of the visual spectrum. Digital display screens emit heavily in the blue end of the spectrum. And kids spend hours every day sitting in front of and looking at the television, their computer, video game screens, and smartphones.

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that robs people of the central part of their vision. It appears when people are 50-years-old and becomes more frequent with advancing age. One of the things that make this disease worse and worse even faster is excessive exposure to high energy blue light.

A concern of researchers is that our kids will be more prone to get this vision-robbing disease because they get so much more blue light exposure so much earlier than their grandparents and great-grandparents. And, they may get the disease much sooner than those who did not grow up staring at digital device!

What Can You Do?

As with the problem of nearsightedness, it will help if your child spends more time outside and away from video display screen. In this case the issue is not more sunlight, but rather less video screen time. However, we live in an electronic and computerized age. How do you not let your child use these devices when they use them at school, for homework and may end up in a job that requires computer skills?

An excellent way to reduce exposure to blue light, which is also part of sunlight, is to wear non prescription glasses with an anti-glare coating designed specifically to filter excessive amounts of blue light from entering your child’s eyes. Click the link to find out how Exigo Optical Eyewear can protect your child’s eyes from any harmful effects of blue light exposure from both digital devices and from the sun!

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