Digital devices and computers are a part of life – but is there a price? It seems everyone is using a smart phone, a tablet and especially a computer. Even infants and toddlers are playing with smart phones and tablets.
A major concern with digital devices is the blue light that comes from the screen. Aside from the fact that studies are showing that blue light is increasing the number of cataracts, it also impacts melatonin levels which means it can interfere with sleep. Parents often struggle to get their little ones to bed and are often puzzled as to why their little one wakes up in the middle of the night. While there are a variety of reasons for this, too much time on that iPhone could be the culprit.
Parents have been asking if the use of iPads and iPhones are harming their children. They also want to know if there is any age limit or any time limit. In my opinion, a time limit is very wise. However, my biggest concern with the little ones is that the distance is very short from their eyes to the screen.
If you take a moment and look at the computer or digital device as close as your little ones are, you will quickly find it very uncomfortable. Yet because the child is laughing, playing quietly or otherwise entertained, it is easy to mistakenly assume all is well.
Blue light doesn’t just impact kids, it can definitely cause a problem for adults, too. The lens in our eyes will let more blue light through to your child’s retina than into an adult retina. This is because the lens is clear when we are born and gradually turns yellow with age. The yellow tint will block some of the blue light, but unfortunately not enough.
3 Things You Can Start Doing Now:
- Stop using digital devices in the evening. If you have to use a computer or tablet, be sure to stop a minimum of 30 minutes before sleep.
- Texting and games also seem to have an effect if done too close to bedtime so this should also be stopped an absolute minimum of 30 minutes before sleep.
- Movies seem to have more of a relaxing effect, however, be sure you have a good distance between the movie and where you are sitting.
If you can’t lower your amount of screen time, there are other steps you can take to help. We carry a variety of special glasses that are designed to help reduce your risk when working on digital devices and computers, including our Blue Light Protection Package. Dr. Christensen can perform special tests during your eye exam to determine the best solution for you.
For children, be sure to schedule an eye exam for them, no matter how young or old they are. If they are using digital devices, you need to have their vision assessed to make sure all is well and they can see well at all distances. Be sure to bring the device with you so Dr. Christensen can observe your child in action.
One last point: A lot of the seeds for eye disease start when we are younger, and too much screen time can be an issue. Our office carries a special line of vitamins specifically designed to support the delicate tissues in the back of your eye called the macula. If you have a family history of eye disease, it would be also wise to take precautions now. Ask Dr. Christensen if Ultra Macula Health™ is right for you.