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DIGITAL DANGERS: Consequences of Children & Digital Devices

Children looking at a blue light emitting tablet

As the medical community becomes more familiar with the effects of modern lifestyles, it’s become clear that children must use technology moderately and responsibly. Parents and children alike should be made aware of the consequences of “computer vision” or “digital eyestrain”– both are catchy labels for essentially the same condition. Read on for our guide to the symptoms, causes and behaviour adjustments for overexposure to digital devices.

SYMPTOMS

Consult the list below, if your child exhibits any mix of these symptoms: book an eye exam at the Vision Gallery as soon as possible!

  • Heavy eyelids;
  • Difficult opening eyes;
  • Wincing at changes in light;
  • Sore neck, back or shoulder muscles;
  • Headaches;
  • Double vision;
  • Blurry vision;
  • Dry eyes;
  • Watering eyes;
  • Scratchy, achy or tired eyes;
  • Eyes are burning or stinging.

CAUSES

If your child regularly does any of the following activities, they may be at higher risk for eyestrain (a.k.a. computer vision or digital eyestrain).

  • Using digital devices near a fan or moving air;
  • Long-term exposure to digital screens (more than 60 minutes straight);
  • Their prescription is not updated regularly;
  • Uses digital devices or screens in dim lighting;
  • Strains their eyes against glare or overly bright lighting, instead of adjusting the device or environment;
  • They hold devices close to face or they sit extremely close to TV screens.

ADJUSTMENTS

Besides medically diagnosed treatments, there are some changes your child can make to their behaviour to limit eyestrain.

  • If needed, children should always have regularly updated prescription lenses. Compared to contact lenses, glasses provide better protection against harmful blue light. Specific blue light-filtering coatings can also be applied to glasses as well.
  • Everyone should orient themselves properly when viewing digital screens: keep device at least 50-60cm away from the face at slight downward angle and both feet should always touch the floor.
  • When using digital devices for extended periods, take at least ten minutes away for every hour of use. Stand, stretch and focus your eyes at farther distances to help alleviate the strain.
  • Apply anti-glare aids to digital screens– there are many affordable products that offer effective relief.
  • Impose a time limit on digital device usage, scaled down with the age of the child. As a guideline, children under 10 should spend no more than 30 minutes to an hour in front of a screen. This can increase by an hour or two as the child reaches adolescence, but the child should be encouraged to self-monitor. Knowing the consequences of eyestrain is a good way to encourage healthy practices.

 

There are many other symptoms, causes and treatments– so do not hesitate to contact or visit the Vision Gallery today if you think your child might be overexposed to digital devices.

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