We live in a world of digital devices. Our work and recreation time is filled with hours of staring at screens of various sizes. This activity does not come without its drawbacks. People who spend hours every day at computers, cellphones, and tablets are susceptible to digital eye strain and dry eye. And the problem seems to be occurring more frequently in children.
Dr. Amber Gaume Giannoni, an optometry specialist with the University Of Houston College Of Optometry, said the more children stare at a screen, the less they tend to blink, which results in dry eye symptoms, because blinking helps stimulate the glands used to moisturize the eyes. Dr. Giannoni has seen symptoms in children as young as eight for a condition that is more commonly witnessed in patients over 40. In many cases this can be attributed to the extensive amount of time in front of a screen.
Although digital devices are part of everyday life, Dr. Giannoni suggests limiting the amount of screen time. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms such as eye redness, eye rubbing, fatigue, headaches or blurry vision, contact your optometrist to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
One method to decrease digital eye strain is called the 20-20-20 method. Take a 20-second break for every 20 minutes of staring at a digital device, and look 20 feet away or somewhere off into the distance. Taking frequent breaks is a proven method for reducing eye strain. Some people need to train themselves to blink more often.
Your optometrist may prescribe computer glasses that have a specifically treated lens designed to block the potentially damaging blue light that is given off by computer screens.
Studies have shown that children who do not have access to smart phones or other electronic devices are less likely to develop dry eye disease than their counterparts who spend a lot of time on their screens. The longer parents can delay their children getting a digital device, the better chance they have of avoiding dry eye disease.
While we have seen many instances of dry eye attributed to overuse of digital devices, only your optometrist can diagnose for sure why you are experiencing symptoms. Eyes Focused on You brings a holistic approach to eye health ensuring that the underlying cause of eye dryness is identified and a treatment plan is developed.