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Home » News » Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Keeping your children safe from damaging their eyes

Premier Eyecare Optometric Center - Local Eye Care Clinic and Blue light specialist in Bakersfield, California

Whether it is homework, email, gaming, chatting with friends, searching the web or watching Youtube, kids these days seem to have an endless number of reasons to be glued to a screen. Many parents out there are wondering how bad this can be for their kids and whether they should be limiting screen time.

There are certainly benefits to allowing your kids to use digital devices, whether it is educational, social or providing a needed break. However, studies show that excessive screen time can have behavioral consequences such as irritability, moodiness, inability to concentrate, poor behavior, and other issues as well. Too much screen time is also linked to dry eyes and meibomian gland disorders (likely due to a decreased blink rate when using devices), as well as eye strain and irritation, headaches, back or neck and shoulder pain, and sleep disturbances. Some of these computer vision syndrome symptoms are attributed to blue light that is emitted from the screens of digital devices.

What Is Blue light?

Blue light is a short wavelength, high-energy visible light that is emitted by digital screens, LED lights and the sun. Studies suggest that exposure to some waves of blue light over extended periods of time may be harmful to the light-sensitive cells of the retina at the back of the eye. When these cells are damaged, vision loss can occur. Research indicates that extreme blue light exposure could lead to macular degeneration or other serious eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness. Studies show that blue light also interferes with the regulation of the the body’s circadian rhythm which can have a disruptive impact on the body’s sleep cycle. Lack of quality sleep can lead to serious health consequences as well.

All this is leading to an increase in the amount of eye strain eye care professionals are reporting. For instance, VSP Global's survey of the group's providers found that 82 percent reported an increase in patients experiencing eye strain and other effects of blue light exposure. American Optometric Association

Beyond these studies, the long term effects of blue light exposure from digital devices are not yet known since this is really the first generation in which people are using digital devices to such an extent. While it may take years to fully understand the impact of excessive screen time on our eyes and overall health, it is probably worth limiting it due to these preliminary findings and the risks it may pose. This is especially true for young children and the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to blue light exposure.

What Can Be Done To Prevent or Treat Myopia in Bakersfield, California

How can I protect my kids Eyes From Blue Light

  • The first step in proper eye protection is abstaining from excessive exposure by limiting the amount of time spent using a computer, smart phone or tablet – especially at night, to avoid interfering with sleep. Many pediatricians even recommend zero screen time for children under two.
  • The next step would be to reduce the amount of blue light entering the eyes by using blue light blocking glasses or coatings that deflect the light away from the eyes. There are also apps and screen filters that you can add to your devices to reduce the amount of blue light being projected from the screen. Speak to your eye doctor about steps you can take to reduce blue light exposure from digital devices.
  • As a side note, the sun is an even greater source of blue light so it is essential to protect your child’s eyes with UV and blue light blocking sunglasses any time your child goes outside – even on overcast days.
  • The eyes of children under 18 are particularly susceptible to damage from environmental exposure as they have transparent crystalline lenses that are more susceptible to both UV and blue light rays. While the effects (such as increased risk of age-related macular degeneration) may not be seen for decades later, it’s worth it to do what you can now to prevent future damage and risk for vision loss.

Call Premier Eyecare Optometric Center on 661-800-4847 in Bakersfield, CA to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.

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Premier Eyecare Re-opening

On April 27, 2020, The American Optometric Association and California Optometric Association confirmed with the Centers for Disease Control that the agency's March 17th recommendation to postpone routine eye care is no longer in effect, therefore in accordance with state and local guidelines we will be re-opening our office on Monday, May 11th for patient care.

We have instituted a number of cleaning and social distancing policies and procedures to try to ensure your visit is as safe as possible for you and our staff.

We require that you wear a facial covering or mask and observe social distancing while in our office.

We kindly ask that you attend your appointment alone.

We will screen all patients entering our office by taking your temperature with a non-contact thermometer.

If you become ill near or at the time of your appointment (cough, fever and shortness of breath) please call our office to reschedule.

If you have any other questions about the steps we have taken to protect your health and safety while at our office, please call our office.

We thank you for your patience as we take the necessary steps and actions to respond to this public health issue.

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Premier Eyecare Re-opening

On April 27, 2020, The American Optometric Association and California Optometric Association confirmed with the Centers for Disease Control that the agency’s March 17th recommendation to postpone routine eye care is no longer in effect, therefore in accordance with state and local guidelines we will be re-opening our office on Monday, May 11th for patient care. Click here to read more.