Over a few months, there has been an increase in the usage of devices such as mobile phones, tabs, laptops, personal computers, and monitors. The increased usage was caused by the pandemic that forced us to stay indoors and work from home. While as adults, we realize the strain these devices can cause to our eyes, many parents fail to understand how increased screentime can affect their child's eye, especially the mobile screen.
The blue light effect
Did you know that the blue light emitted by mobile screens has a shorter wavelength, more energy, and is comparable to the sun's harmful UV rays? The light has the ability to damage the cells in the retina, which are particularly very sensitive. Exposure to this blue light can also cause the possible onset of a vision disorder called macular degeneration which typically occurs in people above the age of 60. Though the study to understand the effects of blue light is still ongoing, children may face other possible eye problems due to excessive usage of smartphones.
What problems do mobile devices cause?
Mobile devices can cause several health problems that can be easily avoided. While some problems are short term and can be cured, others pose to be long term threats. Some of these problems include the following.
- The blue light emitted by mobile devices can affect a child’s ability to sleep. It can harm their sleep schedule greatly, especially if children watch TV or play games before bed.
- Eye strain is a common problem caused by overexposure to screen. Eye strain can lead to loss of focus, fatigue, and several other problems.
- Itching eyes, burning, tired eyes, double vision, blurred vision, and headache can be the potential problems.
- Overexposure to a screen can lead to significant binocular vision problems, especially with a screen as small as a mobile phone.
- Loss of focus flexibility caused by focusing on mobile devices. It usually takes a few hours to get back to normal.
- Increased risk of myopia or shortsightedness caused by prolonged exposure to smartphone devices, and the risk of lazy eye or amblyopia caused by moderate to high myopia.
Many parents fail to understand that mobile devices can impair vision and cause long-term problems. Expert physicians at Phoenix Family Medical Clinic suggest consulting with your doctor if you see your child's following symptoms.
- Excessive blinking
- Frequent rubbing of one or both eye
- Squinting or tilting of the eye while reading, watching TV or doing certain activities
- Chronic headaches
- Complaining of double vision or eye tiredness
As a parent, there are several measures you can take to avoid causing any longterm damage to your child’s eye. You can avoid it!
How to avoid it?
Physicians at Phoenix Family Medical Clinic suggest taking control of your child's health early to avoid facing problems later on. To ensure that your child does not face any ill-effects of using smartphones, you must
- Limit its usage to minimal and ensure that sufficient distance is maintained between the eye and the screen
- Avoid screen time at least two hours before bed
- Ask them to take breaks in between unavoidable usage such as the online classes caused by the pandemic
- Practice eye exercises
The best way to take control of screen time is to implement it as a reward for good behavior. You not only limit the time spent on a device but also teach good practices.