May 28, 2020 Uncategorized

Understanding Digital Eye Strain on Children’s Vision

We are spending more time looking at digital screen than we do sleeping.1 

As Covid-19 pandemic continue to grip our lives, outdoor activities will be limited. Your kids may have gotten used to the new norm with increased usage of digital devices for both education and recreation purposes. Although unintentional, but prolonged screen time leads to digital eye strain. It is estimated 64%-90% of users will suffer from digital eye strain.2

You know digital eye strain is bad for your eyes. You will feel symptoms such as eye discomfort, eye fatigue, eye dryness, blurry vision, problem shifting focus between near and far, headaches, back and neck pain.3,4  The fact is digital eye strain is even tougher on your kids’ eyes because their eyes are still developing.5

Your kid may feel suffer the same symptoms such as eye discomfort, eye fatigue, eye dryness, blurry vision, problem shifting focus between near and far, headaches, back and neck pain with addition of developing myopia (near-sightedness)6 and age-related-eye diseases (cataracts and macular degeneration) in later years7. Importantly, digital eye strain may leave a lasting impact on your kid’s vision and their leaving capabilities.

Your kid is prone to suffer from digital eye strain than you. The reason are as follows:

  1. Wrong Posture and Wrong Size
  2. You will find your kid will likely to hold their digital devices close to their eyes. Holding it too close will lead to digital eye strain symptoms. The right distance between a device and their eyes is an arm’s length away. 

    Your computer and workstation are designed for an adult. Your kid is smaller sized; hence they have a tougher time getting the best viewing angle. The best viewing angle is slightly downward about 15 degrees. Your kid using your computer and workstation for prolonged period will lead to digital eye strain symptoms.

  3. Non-optimum lighting
  4. The optimum lighting level for proper use of a digital devices is about half as bright as that normally found in a classroom. When your digital devices are too bright, it will lead to excessive glare affecting you and your kid’s ability to see clearly in different levels of light.

  5. Lack of awareness
  6. Your kid is likely to keep performing an enjoyable task (e.g. watching videos or playing games) with great concentration, for prolonged period without rest until exhaustion. You may find they may not even stop for their favorite snack. Such prolonged activity without rest again leads to digital eye strain symptoms.3

  7. The adaptability of children

Your kid is unlikely to request to change settings for their digital devices or surrounding environment for a more comfortable viewing. There are likely to bear with the situation. Their ability to bear with it ultimately leads to development of digital eye strain symptoms.

PREVENTING DIGITAL EYE STRAIN IN KIDS

Your kid may not even tell you if they are having vision problem because a kid assumes everyone sees the same way they do. Hence, vision problems in a kid are often left undetected and untreated.

What can you do? Here are a few tips:

  1. Make sure you get them to take regular breaks. Every 20 minutes get your kid to look away from their screen towards something more than 20 feet away. This gives their eyes a rest and reduces the risk of digital eye strain.
  2. Make sure they held their digital devices at least an arm’s length away from their eyes. 
  3. Supplement their diet with eye-friendly nutrients to relieve symptoms of digital eye strains and protect against excessive exposure from blue light emitted from digital devices that will lead to vision problems.

The best nutrients for eye health are none other than Lutein and Zeaxanthin. These nutrients are found to improve problems associated with digital eye strain.8 But these nutrients are difficult to be consumed in adequate amount to relieve digital eye strain syndromes. The recommended dosage for Lutein is 10mg and Zeaxanthin 2mg daily.8 The best sources for Lutein and Zeaxanthin are leafy vegetables. 100g of unsalted boiled frozen spinach can provide almost 11.3 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin.9

Supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin is important because human bodies cannot produce these eye-protective nutrients.10 Both must be obtained via diet. Try Nature’s Way Kids A+ Blue Light Gummies. These are gummies fortified with eye-friendly nutrients (Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Vitamin A) and is extremely palatable for children. It comes in a gummies form that your child will love to take. Helping you safeguard your child’s vision during their key learning years.

Disclaimer: 

This is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any medical problem always first consult with your physician. The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, there is possibility some data have changed since publication. We encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations regarding Covid-19 pandemic.

Reference: 

  1. The Nielsen Total Audience Report. Q2 2017. Available online: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/reports/2017/the-nielsen-total-audience-q2-2017.html
  2. Hayes JR, Sheedy JE, Stelmack JA, Heaney CA. Computer use, symptoms, and quality of life. Optom. Vis. Sci. 2017; 84(8):738-744.
  3. Barar A, Apatachioaie ID, Apatachioaie C, Marceanu-Brasov L. Ophthalmologist and computer vision syndrome. Oftalmologia. 2007; 51: 104-109.
  4. Bali J, Navίn N, Thakur BR. Computer vision syndrome: a study of the knowledge, attitudes and practices in Indian ophthalmologists. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2007; 55: 289-294.
  5. Kozeis N, Impact of computer use on children’s vision. Hippokratia. 2009; 13, 4: 230-231.
  6. Huang H-M, Chang DS-T, Wu P-C . The Association between Near Work Activities and Myopia in Children—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. 2015; PLoS ONE 10(10): e0140419. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140419
  7. Pruett RC. Complications associated with posterior staphyloma. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 1998; 9(3):16–22. PMID: 10182095
  8. Stringham, J.M., Stringham, N.T., O’Brien, K.J. Macular Carotenoid Supplementation Improves Visual Performance, Sleep Quality, and Adverse Physical Symptoms in Those with High Screen Time Exposure. Foods. 2017;6(7).
  9. USDA. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release 2018. Available online: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168463/nutrients
  10. Craft NE, Haitema TB, Garnett KM, Fitch KA, Dorey CK. Carotenoid, tocopherol, and retinol concentrations in elderly human brain. J Nutr Health Aging. 2004; 8:156–62. [PubMed: 15129301]
Share: