Smartphones emit the highest amount of harmful blue light in a comparison of digital devices. The red curve in the graph represents smartphones. Blue light has been associated with increased risk for eye disorders and sleep disorders.
According to the 2016 Nielsen Company Audience Report, adults spend more than 10 hours per day using smartphones, tablets, personal computers, video games, DVDs, DVRs and/or TVs. Teens spend almost 9 hours per day consuming digital media according to the 2015 Common Sense Media Census. Tweens, between the ages of 8 and 12 years, spend approximately 6 hours every day interacting with digital media. Even children under the age of 8 years spend approximately 2 hours in front of a screen according to the same census.
Needless to say, blue light is a common environmental hazard that would benefit from proactive precautionary protection.
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Children ages 2-4 years who watched at least 2 hours of TV daily were significantly more likely to be obese according to a study conducted between 2009 and 2012. In another study involving over 1000 children ages 10-14 years, children who had 2-3 hours of screen time per day, regardless of whether it was for homework purposes or leisure, were significantly more likely to be obese. Yet another large-scale study showed that increased screen time was associated with increased risk of being overweight and increased consumption of high-fat/high-sugar foods. For more information, contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.
SCREEN TIME and KIDS. Does screen time cause nearsightedness to get worse? Can you tell my son/daughter to stop playing games on his/her phone? Is screen time bad? These, and others like them, are common questions that parents ask us frequently. Follow us as we embark on a mini-series to investigate what’s true and what’s myth based on clinical research and personal experience working with many families and their children. Let others know about this. You, and they, will find it interesting and helpful. Here’s a starter:
The World Health Organization recommends that children between the ages of 5 to 17 years engage in moderate-to-vigorous exercise for one hour per day because of the health benefits to developing children. Interestingly, even this daily exercise does not reverse the negative effect of too much screen time. In a study involving over 1000 U.S. children ages 6 to 15 years of age who exercised at least 1 hour per day, more TV watching was still associated with worse physical strength.
A child’s vision may change frequently during the school year without the student or parent noticing. Vision includes a child’s eyesight, the need for a prescription as well as visual skills such as focusing, eye coordination, fine eye movements and more. Academic success requires many different moving parts, and one of these important but often overlooked aspects is vision.
Take this FBISD school holiday on Friday to have your child’s eyes checked especially if he/she shows some of the following symptoms: avoidance of reading, excessive rubbing or blinking of eyes, short attention span, headaches, loses place often while reading, difficulty remembering what has just been read, holding materials too closely, words seem to move on the page, seeing double, uses finger to maintain place while reading, reads very slowly, skips or omits words when reading, poor reading comprehension, print appears to go in and out of focus, eyes hurt or feel tired after only a few minutes of reading, makes errors while copying, crooked or poorly spaced writing, feels unusually tired after reading, re-reads words or sentences, unusual head posture when reading or doing near-work, eyes become watery or red when reading.
Pediatricians play a vital role in the management of eye conditions in children. However, some young children can be difficult to assess because of their lack of compliance while some conditions are just difficult to diagnose in a pediatrician’s office. The eight most commonly missed eye disorders in a primary care physician setting are: amblyopia, eye trauma, glaucoma, ocular inflammation, leukocoria, systemic disorders that affect the eye, small-angle strabismus and subtle nystagmus. The visual outcomes of these disorders can be maximized through early detection and proper subsequent treatment. If you suspect that your child may have one of these conditions, contact us.
The amount of time spent outdoors in daylight is also a risk factor for developing, and worsening, nearsightedness. Depending on the amount of time spent in daylight, you may be subjecting yourself to low, medium or high risk of myopia.
Yet another reason to try to slow down how quickly nearsightedness increases is the risk of retinal detachments. Myopia, or nearsightedness, increases the risk of a retinal detachment by 4X-16X’s; the higher the prescription, the higher the risk. The retina is the tissue in the back of the eye that contains all of the nerves, cells and blood vessels that help you see. Surgery can be performed for retinal detachments. However, clinical studies show that patients who have had retinal detachment surgery complain about lower quality of life afterwards. In other words, the surgery was physically successful. However, the patients still suffered decreased quality of life due to visual difficulties afterwards.
Another reason to slow down the progression of nearsightedness is the increased risk of glaucoma. Nearsightedness, or myopia, increases the risk of glaucoma by 4x’s. Glaucoma slowly kills the nerves in the eyes, and is a leading cause of blindness. If someone develops glaucoma, he won’t even notice any changes in how he sees until 30%-50% of the nerves have already died.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of childhood vision loss. Proper diagnosis of the type of amblyopia is crucial for prognosis and treatment. Oftentimes, the first step in treating amblyopia is glasses. However, some children will not accept the prescription initially because of how their visual system is locked into working. Appropriate identification and medicinal management of these children to improve their acceptance of the treatment is vital in overcoming amblyopia.