The world of school is rapidly changing before our eyes. Thanks to COVID-19 many children are spending from six to nine hours each day on computers. This change has increased blue light exposure, leading to a whole range of vision concerns, including eye strain, headaches, sleep issues, and attention problems.
What We Know
One in four children is not equipped to handle extended periods of time doing close work, either on paper or on a computer. They may adapt or they may struggle. Those that adapt may develop myopia (nearsightedness). These children sacrifice distance vision in order to be more comfortable doing desk work. Others may push through, but with reduced comfort and performance. Signs and symptoms here include headaches, getting very close to the screen, covering or rubbing an eye, or headaches. Lastly, many children who experience discomfort may just resist doing any close work and fight with their parents rather than do their school work.
Blue Light’s Negative Impact
Much has been written about the harmful effects of blue light from computer screens. One thing we definitely know is that this blue light affects sleep habits. On recent study showed that people who were on computers in the evening became more alert and went to bed later even though they still woke up at the normal time, resulting in fewer hours of sleep. Other studies suggest that blue light may accelerate age-related changes in the tissues of the eye
What Can We Do?
Well, limiting screen time is not easy, but you can try to set a time of day by which your child is done on the computer. This should be about two hours prior to bedtime. In addition, you want to have the best protective equipment for time on a computer. Just like you want the best fitting sneakers for running, you need the lenses that maximize vision and comfort at near. A large majority of students benefit from low-powered lenses for near work which serves to reduce eye strain. Amazon and similar retailers offer inexpensive, non-prescription blue light glasses. In addition, a blue-blocker tint can be applied to these lenses to insure that sleep cycles remain normal. A full developmental eye examination can determine if your child would benefit from computer, near-point lenses. Contact us to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today!