Digital strain causing eye problems in children: experts

It is important to remember that children will need guidance and reminders to use digital screen devices in a timely and friendly manner.

Since the start of the pandemic, an increasing number of children have been spending time staring at the screen, especially as schools have moved from the traditional teaching method of using blackboards to online assisted classes. by digital devices. This means more time staring at digital screens, whether for educational or recreational purposes.

Children are spending more and more time staring at the digital screens of computers, tablets, televisions, smartphones and other devices. Digital devices emit high-energy blue light that scatters more easily than other forms of visible light. Prolonged exposure to this type of blurry visual noise reduces contrast and fatigues the eye, leading to eye disorders.

Experts suggest that kids today spend almost 7 hours using screen media, tablet, e-reader, playing online games and using social media. Especially if they enjoy it, it is quite possible that children will continue to watch and play until their eyes run out.

However, this does not include additional time spent in online classes or studies. Continued screen exposure can affect children’s well-being, including how their eyes feel.

According to Dr. Ritika Sachdev, director of the Center for Sight, “children who spend more than 3 hours a day are at high risk of suffering from eye disorders. The number of children who now need to use high-powered glasses has increased at an alarming rate, due to increased screen time. Although it is normal to have watery or itchy eyes, blurred vision with irritation is a worrying sign and can lead to serious eye conditions.

Although staring at a digital screen for long periods of time is one of the main causes of eye problems, problems can also be caused by poor lighting, vision problems that the person was not aware of before, misconfiguration of the workstation or a combination of these factors. .

Dr. Jayangshu Sengupta, Medical Director of Priyamvada Birla Aaravind Eye Hospital and MP Birla Eye Bank, comments: “Children are exposed to electronic gadgets every day. However, excessive exposure to digital devices can not only harm a child’s developing vision, but can also pose several long-term health risks. It is stated that by focusing on a digital screen, individuals blink much less, resulting in dry, irritated eyes. As a result, the upper eyelids tend to open more widely, accelerating the evaporation of tear film from the eye. The post-pandemic phase has seen an increasing number of dry eye disease (DED) cases among college students. The level of discomfort seems to increase with the amount of digital screen use.

Children and adults experience many of the same digital eye strain symptoms. However, some unique aspects of how children use digital devices make them more vulnerable than adults to developing eye discomfort, fatigue, blurred vision and headaches, dry eyes and other symptoms of eye strain.

Dr Amit Gupta, Professor of Ophthalmology, PGI Chandigarh, said: “Eye strain has become a daily problem with potentially serious health implications. Symptoms like sore eyes, irritation, headache, short attention span, difficulty in sleeping are some of the warning signs whether experienced alone or together especially among the young generation. With high-use electronic devices becoming a necessity, especially for parenting, regular eye exams are a must. It guarantees early detection and prompt treatment of any vision problem before it interferes and affects quality of life.

There are many ways parents/guardians can prevent eye problems in children by limiting daily screen time, reducing digital device brightness, and providing appropriate room lighting to ensure frequent breaks. to avoid eye strain. Parents may also consider special glasses that help filter out blue light and can be used during digital learning sessions or while using any digital device and taking a “blinking break” for 20 minutes or more during screen time.

It is important to remember that children will need guidance and reminders to use digital screen devices in a timely and friendly manner.

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